The threat of microplastics and mitigating AI bias
The news: Although we know that tiny pieces of plastic are everywhere, we don’t quite understand what they do to us or other animals. Now, new research on seabirds suggests this may be affecting gut microbiomes – the trillions of microbes that make their home in the intestines and play an important role in animal health.
The results: Seabirds ingest plastic from the ocean, which can accumulate in their stomachs. Research shows this leaves birds with more potentially harmful microbes in the gut, some of which are known to be resistant to antibiotics and others that can cause disease.
Why is this important: The report expands our view of the effects of plastic pollution on wildlife and highlights the wide range of adverse effects caused by current levels of plastic in the environment. The next step is to figure out what this might mean for their health and that of other animals, including humans. Read the full story.
What if we could just ask the AI to be less biased?
Think of a teacher. Close your eyes. What does this person look like? If you ask for Stable Diffusion or DALL-E 2, two of the most popular AI image generators, it’s a white man with glasses.
What if you could just ask AI models to give you less biased answers? A new tool called Fair Diffusion makes it easy to modify AI models to generate the kinds of images you want, such as replacing white men in images with women or people of different ethnicities. A similar technique also seems to work for language models.
These methods of combating AI bias are welcome and raise the obvious question of whether they should be built into models from the start. Read the full story.
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