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Apologies for Inaccuracy

Application

Problem:

The AI in a system may generate inaccurate results that cause confusion, may be offensive, or otherwise unsettle the user. The user would like to know that this is a possibility and feel comfortable with the system regardless.

Screenshot of an image of a man with a potentially inaccurate age guess attached to it, with a close up of an apology for the AI's possible inaccuracies. Example taken from HowOld.net
Microsoft's "How Old" AI-powered software guesses the age of the individual featured, but also includes an apology disclaimer for inaccurate guesses beneath the image.

 

Solution:

The system apologizes for any possible inaccuracy that may be present, especially in regards to sensitive topics that could cause harm or offence.

 

Discussion:

While it is important for systems to admit to their fallibility (via Setting Expectations & Acknowledging Limitations, for example), there is an additional requirement to address how this fallibility may affect the user. In reality, what we call "the user" is a million unique individuals each of whom want to be treated with dignity and respect, not just in this interaction but in every facet of everyday life. We need to use different lenses, with more expansive understandings of who "the user" is in terms of social, psychological, physical, and ideological variables that describe any one embodied individual that goes beyond standard task completion assessments. Apologizing for potentially harmful interpretations acknowledges the humanity of the individuals.