Announced at Google IO 2022, “Skin Tone Research” is a new free and open source developer tool from Google Responsible AI that uses Dr. Ellis Monk’s Monk Skin Tone Scale to make AI more inclusive that should better work for all users.
During the Google IO keynote presentation, Annie Jean-Baptiste claimed that their research indicates that “more people in the United States find that the monk’s scale more accurately reflects their skin tone compared to the current industry standard. “. Annie Jean-Baptiste also said this was especially true for people with darker skin.
Google has already been using the Monk Skin Tone Scale for some time to improve how they understand and represent skin tone in their products such as Photos and Search, but Google has now started testing the scale at globally to improve user experience and software.
In partnership with Dr. Ellis Monk, we are launching a new skin tone scale designed to be more inclusive of the full spectrum of skin tones – the next step in our commitment to image fairness and improved representation in our products. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/oShd3AU9AlMay 11, 2022
Users will be able to see improvements from the Monk Skin Tone Scale through apps like Image Search, which will now show a range of skin tones in search results while also providing a new way to filter by relevant skin tones, to help find more useful information.
During the presentation and accompanying blog post, he also announced that later this month Google Photos will be getting new Real Tone filters thanks to their work using the Monk Skin Tone sale. These filters are designed to work well on all skin tones and were created by “a diverse range of renowned image makers who are renowned for their beautiful and accurate depictions of their subjects.”
Analysis: One step closer to inclusiveness
While many AI programs have been criticized for their ability to detect and respond to the needs of people of color, Google and Dr. Monk’s Skin Tone Research have the potential to be an incredibly useful tool for developers. and users who seek more accessibility in the apps they create and use.
While Google’s skin tone search is a big step toward creating a more inclusive future, it will take more than just one company to create the level of inclusivity people deserve. Hopefully, thanks to Google making its Skin Tone Research open-source, inclusivity isn’t as much of a pipe dream as it once was.