Blog #8: TOK Talks

So, just today, we had our whole day consumed by our Theory of Knowledge presentations, done in front of all the IB 11s and our peers. The experience was interesting, to say the least, especially since I’ve never done such large-scale public speaking, and I have to say that it was not that bad. I ended up going with the strategy of not memorizing a script – and instead – knowing what I want to say on each slide that I was doing and just making up a sentence, that way it comes out much more organically, and I could add bits of scattered comedy here or there. The talk was done in a ‘Pecha Kucha’ format, where we had 15 slides and 10 seconds to present each one, totaling 2 minutes 30 seconds.

As for the topic, I was speaking about bias in machine learning, something that I personally am passionate about, as I have ample experience with artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, so I was able to bring a more experienced perspective into the presentation. While I was doing the presentation, I also noticed some parallels between people in the world and these machines. In society, if someone is brought up to be racist, for example, then most likely, when they grow up they will become a racist. This is very akin to machines – if the machine catches users speaking about racist things, then it will also become racist over time. The question we proposed is whether these biases in humans or machines come specifically from the moment of creation (is bias part of genetics or is bias part of the programming inside a machine) or if it comes from the environment that the machine/human is brought up in.

Can we create a society completely free of bias? Should we allow artificial intelligence be introduced to this bias? Should we strive to prevent a system from doing immoral actions if it introduces the system to new, politically correct bias? If we could make all humans become completely objective, would we still be humans or will we just become machines?