Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
George Orwell. 1984
From the files marked “Terrifying Dystopian Shit” comes the news that Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis has a research organisation.
This organisation shares the same sort of sinister name that many such organisations disguise themselves with, the Institute on Gender in Media. It has created an artificial intelligence judging system in a tool called GD-IQ that will check scripts for gender bias.
The company states it will:
”…educate content creators, marketers, and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias in entertainment…”
It has also announced that The Walt Disney Company has agreed to use it to assess all of its upcoming film and TV projects.
The machine learning program studies a script and determines if the male and female characters are representative.
The key point many people forget is that AI machines are not actually self-aware, self-learning computer brains. They still have to be taught. They still have to have their parameters set, their baseline configured and so on. Therefore whether a machine judges something good or bad is not a cold, calculated computer process that cannot be disagreed with.
It is still totally dependent on the world view, and self-decided baselines, of those who set-up the thing in the first place. They set the KPIs to decide what good looks like. The computer just applies logic.
Basically, it’s still a human judging you. It’s just helping to do it faster.
And there will be judging. Davis said in her keynote speech in New Zealand:
“Nearly every sector of our society has a huge gender disparity, particularly in leadership positions, so how long is it going to take to correct that, to reach parity? No matter how hard we work, we can’t snap our fingers and suddenly half the corporate boards are women. It’s going to take a long time to make some of these changes.
But here’s my theory of change. There’s one category of gross gender inequality where the underrepresentation of women can be fixed absolutely overnight – and it’s onscreen.
The very next project somebody makes – the next movie, TV show – can be gender-balanced. We can make this change happen very fast. In the time it takes to create a new show or a new film, we can present a whole new vision of the future.”
The technology apparently also has the capability to apply these algorithms to people of color, LGBTQI, the disabled or other groups typically mentioned as being underrepresented in Hollywood.