Let’s cut to the chase, we’re all a bit sick of hearing about AI by this point. Used rightly, it can be a helpful tool, but its mind-boggling versatility is often used and abused to degrees nobody really asked for. As is the case with one racing team, which ill-advisedly decided to make an artificially created woman the face of its social media. Rightfully, it’s been hounded.
Mahindra Racing posted about ‘Ava’, an AI-generated influencer that it was planning to use as the face of its behind-the-scenes coverage as well as taking on the role of its ‘Sustainable Tech Champ’. It said Ava’s role would be “navigating the cutting edge of innovation to create positive change”. It wasn’t a surprise to see an overwhelmingly negative reception in the thousands of comments we trawled through.
You have to question the ethics of using artificial intelligence to create a ‘Sustainable Tech Champ’ in the first place. A technology that quite famously isn’t very kind to the environment, relying on huge amounts of processing power drawing an abundance of energy probably isn’t the best way to champion sustainability.
More importantly, it’s a job that could been taken on by a real person, and creating a female avatar in a heavily male-dominated industry rather than just hiring from a pool of talented and capable women feels like a step backwards.
It looks as though the scathing comments have been listened to, at the very least, with the post now deleted. In a statement on Mahindra Racing’s Instagram page, Frederic Bertrand, chief executive officer and team principal, said: “Nurturing diversity, inclusion and innovation is at the heart of Mahindra Racing. Our AI Influencer programme was designed with this innovation in mind.
“Your comments hold tremendous value. We have listened, understood and decided to discontinue the project.”