Author Archives: Dzieciątko Julia

AI follows human gender biases

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Although a lot has changed in a recent years when it comes to empowering women in pursuing professional careers, there is still plenty of space for much needed improvements. Researchers form University of Melbourne, in their study “Ethical Implications of AI Bias as a Result of Workforce Gender Imbalance” commissioned by UniBank, investigated the problem of AI favouring male job applications over female ones.

Researchers observed hiring patterns for three specific roles chosen based on gender ratios:

  • Male-dominated – data analyst
  • Gender-balanced – finance officer
  • Female-dominated – recruitment officer.

Half of hiring panellists were given original CVs with genders of candidates showed, and the other half of panellists the exact same CVs but with genders changed (male to female and female to male, for example “Julia” was changed to “Peter” and “Mark” to “Mia”). The recruiters were asked to rank CVs, where 1 was being the best ranked candidate. Finally, the researchers created hiring algorithm based on the panellists decisions. 

The results showed that CVs of women were scored up to 4 places lower than men’s ones, even thought they had the same skills. The recruiters claimed that they were judging based on experience and education.

Male candidates were more often ranked in Top 3 for all jobs listed and female candidates were more often ranked in Bottom 3 for all jobs!

Male candidates were on average ranked higher for data analyst and finance officer position by both female and male recruiters! That proves that the bias was unconscious. However, in female-dominated role – recruitment officer, the bias worked also the other way round meaning female CVs on average ranked slightly better than male ones.

The researchers adopted a regression model of analysis which showed that candidate’s gender was one of the most critical factors in deciding who will get the job. 

Researchers warn that human bias can be adopted by AI on a bigger scale. Mike Lanzing, UniBank’s General Manager, points out that “As the use of artificial intelligence becomes more common, it’s important that we understand how our existing biases are feeding into supposedly impartial models”.

Dr Marc Cheong, report co-author and digital ethics researcher from the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics (CAIDE),  said that “Even when the names of the candidates were removed, AI assessed resumés based on historic hiring patterns where preferences leaned towards male candidates. For example, giving advantage to candidates with years of continuous service would automatically disadvantage women who’ve taken time off work for caring responsibilities”.

This study calls for immediate action to prevent AI from acquiring gender biases from people, which can be hard to eradicate later on, especially taking into account the constantly increasing use of AI in recruitment processes. The report suggests a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the bias, for example training programs for HR professionals. It is crucial to find the biases that are in our society before AI mimics them.


Tagged , ,

OvuFriend – polish start-up using AI to help women understand their fertility

Reading Time: 3 minutes

History of OvuFriend started with a classic example of a pain point found. Joanna Fedorowicz, founder of OvuFriend, could not get pregnant. “Although my husband and I were only trying to get a baby for a few months, I have an “analytical nature”, and I didn’t just want to be lucky. It worried me that I was in a situation in which I had little influence and I knew so little about the processes taking place in my body” – Joanna recalls. This made Joanna came up with web and mobile application that analyses female fertility and help women get pregnant as soon as possible. OvuFriend is looking at the problem very comprehensively. It is not limited to counting the fertile and infertile days. It also determines, based on parameters of woman’s menstrual cycle, what are the obstacles that prevent from getting pregnant.

OvuFriend uses technology, science and advanced algorithms. It is based on health data that woman fills in during the whole menstrual cycle. The user keeps a diary of various symptoms that accompany the specific phases of a cycle. There is also a possibility to synchronize the app with data from fitness bands. 

AI analyses given data and gives woman ready-made analyses and reports about her health as well as expert advice for each day form gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists and other doctors needed. What is more, OvuFriend is able to notify if it detects any worrying symptoms not only about fertility, but also about hormonal health and diseases like hypothyroidism, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome. AI will indicate what requires a medial consultation. The algorithms will also remind about important preventive examinations specific for certain age, period of life, health condition etc., which woman at all ages should never underestimate. 

Besides the health analysis of the data, the creators of OvuFriend managed to incorporate community building into the app. Women can publish charts of cycles and anonymously comment and compare their charts with the ones of other users. People with similar parameters can easily find each other and give each other support and the feeling of not being alone.

“There have been studies done at Harvard which show that a person who is treated for infertility experiences the same stress as someone who is diagnosed with cancer. When women are close to each other in this situation, it just gets easier for them.” – Joanna says. 

Problems with fertility affect tremendous number of people around the world – every 5th couple has difficulties with getting pregnant. Only in Poland, about 1,5 – 2 million couples may find it difficult to get pregnant! Large companies recognise the problem and support the projects with the potential to address this issue. OvuFriend was supported substantively and technologically by Google for Startups accelerator in Poland and accelerator program in Silicon Valley.

Lubię fakty i liczby | Girls Gone Tech

“Here at Campus Warsaw, I am surrounded by and have access to individuals who want to have an impact, solve tough problems, or challenge the status quo. I have never been more motivated and prepared to take OvuFriend to the next level.” – Joanna Fedorowicz, Founder and CEO of OvuFriend.

OvuFriend received 4,5 million PLN in funding from National Centre for Research and Development for data analysis and creation of AI algorithms.  

Joanna wants to go further and analyse more and more factors affecting fertility e.g., sleep quality, stress, physical activity. She also wants to enter international market in the near future. 

So far, OvuFriend have helped more than 40 thousand women to become pregnant!


Tagged , ,

Google and Facebook’s Secret Deal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2017 Facebook tested a new way of selling online ads, which was a huge threat for Google’s domination in this market. This led Google to offer Facebook a secret deal… 

Ujawniono tajną umowę Facebooka z Google, pozwalającą całkowicie dominować nad reklamami

Bad reputation

Both Facebook and Google have already been accused of violation of antitrust law many times in the past. Quite recent court cases include one form October 20, 2020, when The US Department of Justice with 11 state Attorneys General filed a civil antitrust lawsuit claiming that Google “unlawfully maintain monopoly through anticompetitive and exclusionary harms” – that referred to various operations in the search and search advertising markets, and one from December 9, 2020 when Facebook has been sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for maintaining a “years-long course of anticompetitive conduct” in social networking which results in customers having fewer choices (if any) and deprives advertisers of benefits of competition. 

Secret deal

Facebook’s attempts to establish a new way of online advertising in 2017 have not been completed, but, interestingly, they instead, in 2018, joined an alliance of companies doing the same, but with the help of Google. This agreement between Facebook and Google is a part of further mentioned court case form October, 2020 and was called by the state attorneys general illegal price-fixing deal. The New York Times found out that, according to executives of 6 out of 20 partners in the alliance, Facebook was given special terms of contract resulting in a significant advantage over the other companies. However, Google and Facebook deny to these reports and even state that deals like that “help increase competition in ad auctions” (Christopher Sgro, Facebook’s spokesman). This mysterious agreement is believed to be coded as Jedi Blue inside the companies.

What is it exactly about?

Part of the online advertising involved in the deal is called programmatic advertising – process of automatically buying and selling digital advertising space. Basically, when a user is clicking a link to a website, there is a bid for ads that will show up. Google, having one of the most dominant ad exchanges, often directed straight to their own exchange. That is why a method of header bidding was developed which mixed exchanges from different platforms at once, which resulted in bigger competition and better prices. It is no surprise that Google did not “like” it and developed yet another method – open bidding. It enables exchanges other than Google’s at the same time, but Google takes fee for every winning bid. Facebook is one of the biggest ad buyers, so its joining Google’s alliance and having extra conditions is worrying for the whole industry. Those advantages included: speed advantages, direct billing relationships with the ad sites and better understanding of who would be shown the ads. 

Jedi Blue can be used to support lawsuits that have already been initiated against Facebook and Google as well as to trigger new ones. This case is a clear example of why tech giants need more law regulations. 

Tagged , ,

Facebook is merging WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

Reading Time: 2 minutesLogos for WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

Facebook has announced that they plan to merge its three largest apps – Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. According to their statement from 25thof January apps are going to stay separate, but their messaging system will be combined.

Together Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp have more than 2.6 billion users. It’s worth remembering that Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. Mr. Zuckerberg, at that time, promised WhatsApp and Instagram plenty of autonomy from Facebook… But now, he has changed his mind. These two apps have gained many users since Facebook bought them and Mr. Zuckerberg believes that integrating services will make them even more successful.

Mr. Koum, co-founder and previous CEO of WhatsApp is deeply concerned about this idea and stated that “If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it.” Several WhatsApp employees have already left the company.

“We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private”

“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks”  The Facebook’s spokesperson said.

We should ask ourselves a question – why is Facebook doing it? The most logical reason would be gathering more data. At the moment, using WhatsApp does not require providing name or any other personal information besides phone number. Combining WhatsApp with Messenger and Instagram will most probably force users to give more data about themselves. Currently only WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption by default.

“We don’t know how the users’ data will be spread across the apps. As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” said Facebook in the statement.

Tim Mackey, data privacy expert, claims that “Merging personal information and privacy configurations from three significant applications won’t be trivial”. He underlines that Facebook had problems with user privacy before.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania mark zuckerberg merge instagram

Mr. Zuckerberg explains his decision saying that there is a need to keep users engaged inside the company’s ecosystem. He wants to be one step ahead of any other messaging services like those offered by Google or Apple. Moreover, he sees potential in increasing advertising sales and creating new profit-generating services after the merge. Instagram produces revenue, but WhatsApp almost not at all at the moment.

Facebook plan to introduce this merge by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Do you think that the merge is going to make communication easier or it is going to be a brutal attack on our data?




Reading Time: 3 minutesL’Oreal UV sense

My Skin Track UV Sensor is the new kid of L’Oreal Tech Incubator which is technology research and development lab of the biggest cosmetic company in the world – L’Oreal Group (generating nearly $30 bilion in sales a year). Guive Balooch, who started the incubator nearly seven years ago, now manages the team of over 35 members. He explains his work simply:

“Everything is just under the umbrella of technology, design, and how beauty can be at the center of that.”

This sensor is offered under L’Oreal’s skincare brand La Roche-Posay. The sensor is NFC-enabled which means that two electronic devices can establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm (same system is used by contactless payments, hotel room key cards and sharing photos for example). In practice this small gadget collects data of the time spend in sun exposure and sends it to mobile application (compatible with both Android and iOS) which provides you with detailed information whether your skin is safe or not.

Let’s remind ourselves that spending too much time in sunlight can cause sunspots, sunburn, wrinkles, and other skin damages as well as skin cancer. It is estimated that one in five Americans have DNA damages inflicted by UV radiation which can contribute to skin cancer. The amount of sun recommended depends on the skin tone and many other factors, so L’Oreal asks user initial questions about the skin before preparing a raport.

The height of this device is 1.35 cm and the length is 3.3 cm (with clip). You can use it wherever you want – on your nail, glasses, watch, clothing or any other place exposed to daylight. It is battery-free and waterproof.

My Skin Track UV Sensor is available exclusively at It costs $59.95. L’Oreal’s strategy is to become more than just cosmetic company. Their aim is to incorporate technology into beauty industry. Dr. Sanjukta Pookulangara, who teaches digital retail technology and consumer behaviour at the University of North Texas is convinced that:

“Consumers, especially those who might not have considered themselves customers of L’Oréal, would be able to decide to buy the product based on their trust of Apple’s”.


Podobny obraz


It’s a huge step for beauty industry. I personally think that nowadays consumers seek personalisation in every product, regardless the industry. I guess L’Oreal did a good, well-conceived move. I see bright future for the tech-beauty products. Do you agree?




Tagged , ,

Arnav Kapur reads minds. What’s your superpower?

Reading Time: 3 minutesAlterEgo is an early-stage prototype of wearable headset that allows a user to communicate with machines by verbalising words in head without speaking them loudly.

How it works? User just have to articulate words internally. Then, electrodes pick up neuromuscular signals and send them to AI assistants, services or applications where machine learning system interprets these signals like words and finally the user receives an answer. But not an ordinary answer. It can be execution of the command by the device or even aural words given by bone conduction without speaking them. AlterEgo claims that their product “allows humans to converse in natural language with machines… without disrupting the user’s usual auditory perception, and making the interface closed-loop”.

Arnav Kapur, a graduate student at MIT Media Lab, was the lead researcher of this invention. He said that  “Our idea was: Could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?”

Interestingly, Arnav perceives AlterEgo as antidote to the anxiety concerning AI. He emphasizes that he is aware of the doubts and fears that people have while thinking about AI and he claims that his device will help us rather than replace us. He believes that AlterEgo will save our time and not disrupt our minds. It is meant to improve our relation with electronical devices and make them less involving. Furthermore, AlterEgo aims at helping the ones that have voice disorders.

Examples of usage of AlterEgo include asking about weather, time, date or any information from the phone, advice on how to win chess, summing up the prices of products we are buying, connecting with IoT by for example switching channels on TV, putting the kettle on, turning the light off etc.


There are many nonobvious ways in which this device could be beneficial. Thad Starner, a professor in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing suggest using it in the military where communicating silently is often a must for the success of the operation. More down-to-earth example is ordering an uber while being at the meeting or during the lessons.Sometimes we also need to check infomation discreetly and quickly for example with our lawyer at the hearing.

Tanzeem Choudhury, an associate professor at Cornell University who runs the school’s People-Aware Computing Lab, thinks that AlterEgo will be useful with situations in which we are embarrassed to talk or even write about something.

The main challenge that Kapur has to face in the near future is building a data set for the device since silent speech is something completely groundbreaking. At the moment they are working on different languages versions, extension of vocabulary as well as new functions of the device.

How would you use AlterEgo? Do you think that this device can cause any negative consequences like deteriorating the way we speak for example? Let me know in the comments!





Tagged , ,

Extraordinary farmers

Reading Time: 3 minutesAt the beginning of October this year, start-up Iron Ox created a fully autonomous farm in San Carlos, California. The company wants to improve today’s farming using AI and heavy machinery.



Has Iron Ox found an answer to constantly growing population needing more and more food as well as labor and crops shortages? They created two robots and an 8000 square feet (around 743 square meter) greenhouse to care about all produce. It’s impressive, isn’t it?

One of the robots is roughly as big as a car. It is responsible for moving and lifting trays of plants around the building and transporting them to the processing area. There, the second robot takes care of seeding, transplanting and all of different tasks concerning usage of knowledge, not mechanical ones. It uses AI and machine learning.  It can see in 3D, it recognizes diseases, pests, sizes, types of leaves etc. They both are controlled by cloud-bases AI software called “The brain” that tells them exactly what to do according to the situation given.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania iron ox robot


What else is extraordinary about this project? Firstly, plants are smartly packed. They are sorted according to their age, water, light and other natural requirements. Nothing goes to waste during the whole operation. Company claims that this farm is able to “grow 30 times more plants than traditional farms”. Secondly, everything is done in sterile environment. And finally, robots can work 24 hours a day, with no break, no food, no exhaustion. They are always efficient and ready to be used. They have no bad days or diseases. They don’t have emotions, which can affect their involvement in work. They don’t cheat, steal or slob around. They are highly dependable, easy to control and predictable. We can’t say the same about the people.

Podobny obraz


The aim of the company is to establish farms near big cities, so people could eat fresher products. At the same time, they want to save natural resources like water, soil, solar energy etc. The co-founder and CEO of Iron Ox, Brandon Alexander claims that after working for many engineering companies (including Google’s research lab X and influential robotics incubator Willow Garage) he decided that he wants to do something that has direct impact on people’s lives.  Alexander’s interest in farming came partly from his background. His granddad worked as a farmer and complained that he “couldn’t get enough help”.

Iron Ox plants are “very manual products”, but everything seems to be on the right track to develop this idea, open new greenhouses, build new robots and speed up the process. Company plans to open a few new farms next year and sell its produces among entire California. Their first targets are restaurants.


Even Brandon agrees that robots will not be able to do everything without humans. According to only 5% of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers will be switched with robots. The site’s verdict is that automation risk level is “totally safe”. What do you think? Do you agree with this site or your views are closer to Brandon Alexander who places hopes on Iron Ox? Should Brandon go hard or go home in your opinion?


Tagged , ,

CRISPR babies – designing your future child like a Baby Born or a prevention of serious diseases?

Reading Time: 2 minutesChinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) which is an official platform and catalog for registering a clinical trials in China proves that this month researchers from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen conducted an experiment of creating babies with edited genes. The news is really recent, the last official information about this issue has been refreshed on 26th of November and there is still a lot of uncertainty…

Scientific title of this research is “Evaluation of safety and efficacy of gene with human embryo CCR5 gene”. CCR5 is responsible for being resistant (or not) to HIV. Tool used by Chinese scientists is called CRISP. It enables to edit certain genes in an in vitro fertilization. Human embryos are changed before transferring them into women’s uterus. He Jiankui, the leader of this experiment, did not want to answer all the questions, he posted a video on Youtube explaining cursorily the project, but he refuses to comment on anything else.

Source: The He Lab Youtube channel

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania crispr

Source: Cambridge University Press

It is undoubtedly an enormous step for medical as well as technological world, but it brings serious threats too. Any gene editing can cause “off target” mutations. Many specialists are concerned that this can go into wrong direction. Feng Zhang, a Chinese-American biochemist, member of the Board Institute of MIT and Harvard, said: Although I appreciate the global threat posed by HIV, at this stage, the risks of editing embryos to knock out CCR5 seem to outweigh the potential benefits”.  Vice-director of the Tsinghua University Comprehensive AIDS Research Center, Zhang Lin-Qi claims that “The consequences are impossible to predict”. Fyodor Urnov, associate director of the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences feels  “regret and concern over the fact that gene editing—a powerful and useful technique—was put to use in a setting where it was unnecessary.” However, He Jiankui believes that his experiment “will surpass” the development of in vitro fertilization. The solution to infertility gave Robert Edwards Nobel Prize in 2010. Does He deserve one too?

Gene-editing arouses a few social and moral dilemmas. Will gene-editing become a prevention, health advantage like vaccinations for privileged group of people? Or maybe people will choose physical and personality traits for their children? Where is the line between development and interference with a nature of human? How will it affect an average person? Can it change or control the evolution? Will we wake up one day and say it is too late to bring back genetic balance into our society? For now, we have to answer this questions by ourselves.

It’s worth mentioning that currently usage of genetically modified embryo while establishing a pregnancy is illegal in Europe. It is also prohibited in China. We do not know whether He got special authority or did it unlawfully. He’s media spokesman, Ryan Ferrell didn’t respond whether the project is legal.


Tagged , ,