Cheltenham tech company wins £50K to help tackle bias in AI
Change My Face an award winning tech company based in Cheltenham has won £50,000 to tackle inclusion innovation in artificial intelligence.
The investment will help it tackle bias in AI and machine learning models. the company, launched by Auriole Prince, creates automagical face changing software to show the effects of lifestyle habits on the face as we age, such as sun damage, stress, diet and exercise. A wide range of clients from health, skincare and science museums include the Scottish Government, NHS, Visa, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Aetna CVS and This Works.
Auriole said: “We are excited to be working on new validated image datasets which will help us to analyse and learn more about health on different faces. The new range of products and services will be released under the name Future Face will aim to reach new markets in personalised health, skincare and beauty.”
Auriole Prince is a member of the Medical Artists Association and former FBI trained forensic artist. She has used her forensic age progression skills to build a small tech company creating AI powered technology that underpins health, wellness and longevity programs.
She added: “As a female business owner and creator of AI technology, tackling bias is a daily occurence. AI has slowly become a part of our everyday lives and we must work together to make sure it serves everyone in our community equally. During the pandemic, our health became the focus of so much attention and we aim to play a part in improving people’s health through entertaining and engaging software.
With the funding, data scientist Sofia Kohan has been employed full time to build image datasets for non bias AI machine learning training. Sofia was the only female graduate of her course in data science at Bournemouth University.
She added: “I earned a bachelor’s in Data Science and Analytics at Bournemouth University less than a year ago. I was the only female student who graduated from BU as a Data Scientist to date. It turned out that being a woman in STEM is not intimidating at all. Even though I spent most of my degree interacting and working with men, I have never felt excluded by them.
Fifty pioneering UK companies, including Change My Face, have each been awarded £50,000 to further develop their inclusive innovations through Innovate UK’s Inclusive Innovation Award– from an AI-driven smart glove that live-translates sign language into speech, to interactive voice reminders that empower people with dementia to live more independently.
The Inclusive Innovation Award recognises that it is vital for all parts of society to engage with innovation as a process that they can both benefit from and contribute to. Inclusive innovation rejects the notion that a product or service should be designed around the ‘average customer.’ By ensuring that accessibility and inclusion are considered from the outset of innovation design a business can maximise its chances of commercial success by broadening its potential customer base — whilst also mitigating the risk of creating innovations that deepen existing inequalities and widen societal gaps.
Exclusive innovation, on the other hand, results in aspects of modern living being inaccessible to certain people, and to communities missing out on opportunities.
One example of an exclusive innovation went viral when a video of sinks at a hotel in Atlanta was posted online in 2015, showing that the soap dispenser failed to detect dark skin but worked well on light skin — just one of many innovations designed without all users in mind, resulting in products that are not fit for purpose for all.