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“Smart” vs “Athletic”: how AI reveals the unconscious racial bias in our language

It's easy to imagine sports commentators have moved on from the sort of offensive comments that received widespread attention in the 1980s. But AI analysis shows how an old bias endures in language differences

By Jenny McCall  

The way commentators talk about players of different races has been the subject of AI investigation. Photo: PA/Prospect composite

There is a popular sentiment that “fairness” is inexorably subjective and incapable of being determined by objective standards.

Similarly, when it comes to sports commentary, one would think that the protagonists’ analysis will be based purely on the state of play taking place on the pitch, field or court—but that’s simply not the case.

Sports pundits have been known to exert racial bias and its impact is very damaging. Racial…

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