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YouTube AI Blocked Chess Channel Over Racial Slurs Like “Black and White”

The Youtube channel, which is named ‘Agadmator‘, belongs to Croatian chess player Antonio Radic and has been the unintended victim of AI algorithms that are set up to detect racist content and hate speech.

Last year, the world’s most popular YouTube chess channel, with 1.000.000 subscribers and over 393 million views in total, was blocked over charges of “harmful and dangerous” content.

The incident happened on 28 June 2020 when Radic’s channel was blocked during a chess show with Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura because of the AI algorithms which mistook the two chess players’ conversation about black and white chess pieces as racism. Fortunately, the channel was restored within 24 hours.

Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh, a project scientist at CMU’s Language Technologies Institute, and fellow researcher Rupak Sarkar at Carnegie Melon’s Language Technologies Institute have tested the ‘black v white’ chess match theory by using AI software to screen an impressive 680.000 comments from 5 popular chess YouTube channels.

Their conclusion after manually reviewing chess videos and 1.000 comments, was that over 80% of them had been flagged by the speech classifiers as hate speech because of terms such as “black”, “white”, “attack” and “threat”.