AKQA: RGBlack

It’s the responsibility of creators, designers and technologists to ensure the tools they use don’t discriminate or harm marginalised communities. AKQA’s RGBlack platform is designed to help with this, equipping those working in the creative industries with the knowledge and materials they need to create better and more equitable work.

The educational platform helps to mitigate the impacts of coded bias in AI-powered tools. Supplying those that use them with new calibration cards designed for diverse skin types, information on the principles of lighting, beauty, colourimetry and more.

Group of people with RGBlack text overlaid

For many years, white skin has been used as the standard to calibrate colours in photography using Shirley Cards. This made it difficult for Black skin tones to be portrayed authentically, and often they would look blurry, flat or shaded in photographic prints. This pattern has been repeated in technologies and algorithms trained to see human faces using digital image libraries. Studies have shown that it is challenging to locate and eliminate these biases. The result of their use is that real people are misrepresented or excluded.

Using funding from WPP’s Racial Equity Programme, AKQA will work towards building consensus in the creative and technology communities – working with colleagues, clients, corporates and educational institutions, it will develop a new standard of craft for digital creators that includes raising awareness of the dangers present in existing tools to trigger a response.

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