An Image Depixelator That Whitewashes People of Color Has Opened Rifts in the AI Community

The debate is between engineers who blame datasets and others who say the problems are much deeper

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The experimental tool seemed innocuous enough at first glance: Plug in a pixelated image of a face and it would generate a higher-resolution mock-up using machine learning.

But it wasn’t long after an independent programmer posted it to Twitter last week that other researchers started to notice a glaring flaw. When prompted with Barack Obama’s blurry likeness, it returned a white man’s face with little resemblance to the former president. Ditto for other prominent people of color such as U.S.



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