Participant of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology The most recent virtual conference had to be selected from *** after profanity filters prevented them from following relevant archaeological terms like “stream”, “sexual” and of course the cheekiest B-word in the world – “bone” – during the Q&A the presentation to use sessions earlier this week.
The culprit? “”a prepackaged filter for naughty words, “said paleontologist and member of society, Stephanie Drumheller, who banned several key terms in the EU field of paleontology that might otherwise be considered inappropriate in a professional setting. “After some of us had a good belly laugh out of the way on the first day and came up with some creative formulations (my personal favorite was Heck Creek for Hell Creek), they turned to the office and the words as forbidden we stumble across them”
As a result, attendees had to work together to trick the filter while conference staff ran to solve the problem problem. Conference attendees went to Twitter to warn others about which words were banned and which were not as a Google Doc archived which terms were banned and whether or not they had been fixed.
While looking at this list, I’m rightly curious to know when and why pAleontologists have reason to drop the F-bomb at work, but who am I to judge? I am a writer with a beat cover “sexy” ad campaigns for mac and cheese and priestly threesomes.
But swear words, and apart from that, the filter exposed some potentially racial prejudice – the name “Wang” was banned while “Johnson” was considered acceptable. “”I personally know several vertebrate paleontologists with this last name. It didn’t seem right, so I put other slangs into the Q&A platform and realized the bias I was tweeting about, “said Z. Jack Tseng, who is an assistant professor at UC Berkeley and assistant curator at Berkeley University operates paleontology museum. “In general, text filtering algorithms are likely to involve human decisions at some point in their creation and implementation. Recognizing these biases at the design level, even if it takes longer to develop, would go a long way in creating a more welcoming environment for all attendees. We are in such a well-connected world today that our technology should continue to change over time. “
Even though The conference is scheduled for today, don’t worry, the filter definitely made the virtual gathering a memorable event – can you dig it out?
You can find Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ and on Twitter @TennesAnyone.