BIOS Vs Bias

Bias is basically a prejudice developed either in favour or against something, someone, or a group in comparison with another that is primarily deemed unfair. Bias, though used in negative contexts, it may have positive outcomes too.

There are two types of biases, namely Conscious bias, and Unconscious bias. Both the biases are not confined to ethnicity and race. Various attributes such as age, gender, physical abilities, gender identity, religion, weight etc., are bound to bias.

Unconscious biases are social fixes about particular groups of people that individuals form beyond their own conscious perception. Unconscious bias is more rampant than conscious bias and often dissenting to one's conscious beliefs. Certain scenarios can trigger unconscious attitudes and beliefs.

I would like to share an anecdote from my past. During my teens, I was still a quiet adolescent; one day there was a group in the neighbourhood that was about to visit a patient in our locality. This was a practice of the elders in the vicinity. They used to inform the households nearby whenever they visited someone ill in the area. Even young ones like me would accompany them, either out of interest or out of compulsion by parents, but not very often.

It was late 90s then, and elders were still sceptical about the young ones’ obedience to them. That particular day when I heard that the group of elders was about to visit someone ill, one of them was staring at me as I was moving away listening to their words. As I turned, I heard someone saying, “Guys these days don’t care for the elders. They are only worried about their pleasures and priorities”. I didn’t turn to respond to them and moved on.

Actually, as soon as I heard they were to visit someone ill in the locality, I decided to by a pack of sugar-free biscuit with the pocket money I had. My thought was to keep my intentions chaste, because of which I didn’t want to disclose to the elders what was I up to.

I walked across the road, bought a packet of biscuits suitable for patients and returned. As I returned hurriedly and joined the group of elders who were just about to start, one of them (the one who passed a comment on me earlier) came to me and apologised for his conscious bias about me, as well as his unconscious bias about the young ones’ attitude towards society in general. I smiled back at him and just joined them to visit the patient.

That day, I was not aware of the terms conscious or unconscious bias. Later, when I read about it, this incident stuck me immediately.

Today, when we are competing with AI to prove our intellect, and in a scenario where the machines are into deep learning and are learning even human behaviours, we humans should keep our biases to a maximum of zero, as the machines’ BIOS should not get caught up with our bias.

Add a comment & Rating

View Comments