Recently, concerns have been expressed regarding one of our contractor onboarding questionnaires which included a voluntary demographic question about skin color.
Appen’s role is to provide training data for AI that represents all users of the product so that the product is unbiased and works in the real world. Key to that is providing training data from diverse populations of people. We ask for demographic data from our contributors to understand the diversity of our crowd and provide diverse datasets to our customers.
For example, if someone wants to create a digital photo management app that is able to recognize people, the training data needs to include pictures of all kinds of people from all over the world in numbers representative of end users of the app.
We have since removed the question regarding skin tone. We acknowledge that it required an explanation. We are working to improve the ways we communicate with our contributors and provide our customers with diverse data to mitigate bias.
We apologize for the offence this has caused. It was unintended, we regret the mistake and are working to correct it.
There is no intended racism in our hiring processes, practices, or policies. However, we acknowledge that we can do better when collecting this type of data and we are doing a thorough review of all questions, workflows, language and processes to ensure they are representative of our diverse and inclusive culture.
Kerri Reynolds, SVP HR and Crowdsourcing