IBM ends all facial recognition business as CEO calls out bias and inequality

inspector calls inequality essay

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna announced today that the company would no longer sell facial recognition services, calling for a “national dialogue” on whether it should be used at all. He also voiced support for a new bill aiming to reduce police violence and increase accountability.

In a letter reported by CNBC , written in support of the Justice in Policing Act introduced today, Krishna explains the company’s exit from the controversial business of facial identification as a service:

IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency. We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.

This careful approach to developing and deploying the technology is not a new one: IBM last year emphasized it with a new database of face data that was more diverse than anything available at the time. After all, like any program, these systems are only as good as the information you feed into them.

IBM builds a more diverse million-face data set to help reduce bias in AI

However, facial recognition does not seem to have been making the company much money, if any. To be fair, the technology is really in its infancy and there are few applications where an enterprise vendor like IBM makes sense. Amazon’s controversial Rekognition service, while it has been used in some fashion by quite a few law enforcement entities, is not well thought of in the field. It would not benefit IBM much to attempt to compete with a product that is similarly just barely good enough to use.

Krishna’s letter also says that “vendors and users of Al systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that Al is tested for bias, particularly when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported.” This is something of a parting shot to those in the field, Amazon in particular, which been called out over the structured bias of its facial recognition systems, most notably by Joy Buolamwini .

It’s unclear whether or how the company will continue to perform AI research along these lines.

The bill that Krishna writes in support of has dozens of co-sponsors in the House and Senate, and addresses a wide variety of issues faced by police departments and those they police. Among other things, it expands requirements for body cameras but limits the use of facial recognition in connection with them. It would provide grants for the hardware, but only if they are used under protocols publicly developed and listed.

The ACLU, in a statement issued regarding the bill, seemed to concur with its approach: “We need to invest in technologies that can help eliminate the digital divide, not technologies that create a surveillance infrastructure that exacerbates policing abuses and structural racism.”

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inspector calls inequality essay

How Does Priestley Present Inequality in An Inspector Calls

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inspector calls inequality essay

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In the allegorical morality play An Inspector Calls, JB Priestley highlights how inequality in society leads to social disruption, harm and tragedy. Priestley portrays a chasm between social classes in 1912, contrasting with the progressive socialist view emerging in 1945. Thus, he promotes socialism to his audience in 1945, teaching that inequality leads to the downfall of the individual and society as “ one body ”.

(1) At this stage the examiner has commented ‘Level 2 AO3’. However, this is a thesis statement which outlines the 3 arguments that the essay is going to prove. So it will lead to much higher levels as the essay develops.

In act one, Birling treats his daughter’s engagement as a business transaction, generating profit. Therefore, he is used by Priestley as a construct to represent the greed of the bourgeoisie in Edwardian society in 1912. Birling tells Gerald, “ I look forward to a time when Birlings and Crofts are no longer competing, but working together, for lower costs and higher prices .” This implies that the upper-class are consumed by greed and selfish pride: they only provide for themselves and their “ family of course …”

Priestley emphasises Mr Birling’s avarice to foreshadow how, by act three, he still hasn’t learned his lesson. He says he’d still give “ thousands, yes thousands ” to bring Eva back to life, but in reality, this is simply to cover up the scandal of her death, suggesting how those members of the upper middle classes want to prevent any kind of scandal. Consequently, Birling’s later downfall mirrors the downfall of all capitalist men who prioritise money over well-being in Edwardian society, invoking fear in those men watching in the audience of 1945. (2) After reading the analysis of these quotations, the examiner has decided that this is Level 3 of AO1 and AO2.

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inspector calls inequality essay

Example Essay on Geneder Inequality in An Inspector Calls

Gender Inequality Inspector Calls

Here’s an example essay on gender inequality in Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls. It is a 29/30 A*/L9 essay, written by a student. It tackles important topics such as gender inequality, sexual harassment, and objectifying women that were present in Edwardian society.

How does Priestley show his idea about gender inequality in ‘An Inspector Calls’? 

Priestley shows the idea of gender discrimination by suggesting the varied expectations and stereotypes of males and females in 1912 and how they contrast each other. He achieved this by describing men as charming and patriarchal, yet women as reckless and inessential. 

This is demonstrated through the hypocrisy between Eva and Gerald in the opening scene. The stage directions suggest that Gerald is a ‘well-bred young man-about-town’, yet Eva is described as ‘cheap labour’ and frequently objectified by men of a higher class than her. The double standards suggest how an Edwardian society perceived men being considered ‘well-known’ by the towns folk an achievement and something to be applauded for, yet for women, it immediately made them victims of abuse and manipulation. Priestley demonstrates the hypocrisy when Gerald exclaimed ‘I didn’t install her there to make love to her!’ Gerald is objectifying Eva, suggesting how he believes she is worthless and his to deceive. The verb ‘install’ portrays his sexist views on women as he describes her as an accessory to his fortune, hence explaining why he deems it acceptable as he sees himself as the ‘fairy prince’ who is rescuing a vulnerable woman ‘allowing’ her to seek refuge in his company. Priestley may have done this, as a 1945 audience may have argued that Gerald had in fact aided Eva and provided her with life’s basic necessities. However, Priestley may have wanted to suggest how Gerald had an ulterior motive and may have wanted to take advantage of her vulnerability. 

Staging and Performance in An Inspector Calls Explained

The inequality is further demonstrated when the Inspector discovers that Eric had forced himself upon Eva. This revelation examines the danger of inequality. Eric, as a wealthy, upper-class man is very privileged and fortunate, yet he abused this gift by behaving recklessly when he took advantage of Eva. Eric describes himself as ‘being in that state where a chap can easily turn nasty’ when he committed the crime. Much like Gerald, Eric is trying to persuade an audience that his behaviour was justified as he ‘couldn’t remember her name’ the morning after the incident and therefore believed it would have meant as little to her as it did to him, further supporting Priestley’s idea that gender prejudice was a signified issue in 1912. In addition to this, Eva may have been ‘driven to suicide’ by the internalised pain and uselessness she felt. She was a working-class, poor woman who had little to her name and stood very little chance of winning a court case against her offenders. This may have antagonised her situation, as very few people were likely to believe any accusation made by a woman was true, reinforcing how Priestley demonstrates gender discrimination, showing how Gerald objectified and charmed Eva, yet Eric took his actions further and harassed her, showing the dangers of discrimination. The author may have done this to portray to a 1945 audience how Eva had no one to go to and no one to help, possibly explaining why she believed death was the preferred option to living. 

However, to juxtapose my previous points Sybil Birling gives an audience a different perspective on gender discrimination. She is socially superior to her husband and consequently appears very matriarchal in her own ‘bubble’. She is manipulative and patronising, infantilizing her family in phrases such as ‘Now Arthur, I don’t think you ought to talk business.’ Or ‘Eric!’ The use of exclamatives suggests the urgency in her tone and how she is disciplining Eric as if he is a child, despite his current age. She also expresses hubris by asking the Inspector ‘What business’ it is of his to be concerned with how she treated Eva when she came to her charity posing as Mrs Birling. Priestley could have subverted the typical gender expectations of a woman in the Edwardian era to purposefully present to an audience how women can also be merciless and cold, but also the advantage of the less fortunate, like Sybil did when she denied Eva help. This may make an audience question whether gender discrimination is the most important theme in ‘An Inspector Calls’ or class division is. 

In conclusion, I believe that Priestley demonstrates gender inequality to show there was a need for change, and how WWII brought that. It meant that women were no longer considered a trophy or a housewife, but as valuable citizens who fought for Britain just as well as the men did. 

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An Inspector Calls grade 9 essay - "Inequality"

An Inspector Calls grade 9 essay - "Inequality"

Subject: English

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Other


Last updated

30 August 2023

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inspector calls inequality essay

“How does Priestley represent Inequality throughout An Inspector Calls? You must refer to context in your answer.” Grade 9 English Literature essay, written by a year 11 student in 2022 during revision who is happy to share her essays to inspire the work of others. Marked by her teacher who is also an AQA examiner. Smash your exams!

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Home Essay Examples Literature An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls: Social Issues In The Play

  • Category Literature
  • Subcategory Plays
  • Topic An Inspector Calls

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Set in 1912, the play An Inspector Calls explores aspects of socialism and equality previous to the war. Priestley presents three distinct and powerful female roles who show contrasting views on society. It is interesting to consider the interactions between the female characters; Sheila, Mrs Birling and Eva.

At the beginning of the play the Birling family are at a small dinner party celebrating Sheila and Gerald’s engagement. It is at this party that we first begin to see flaws in the engagement. Sheila seems to be a very sarcastic character making modest digs at Gerald, saying; “Except for all last summer when you never came near me” as the stage directions tell us Sheila is saying this in a “half serious, half playful” way we can tell that she is saying it as a deliberate dig at him not as a silly joke. Because of this the audience start to believe that the engagement isn’t all it’s said to be.

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We can also see very stereotypical expectations of Sheila for example Mrs Birling saying; “ What an expression … The thing you girls pick up these days!” She says this in response to Sheila calling Eric “squiffy”. This shows the audience that Mrs Birling has some very dignified expectations of the way Sheila should act. In addition, Sheila is also called “hysterical” several times throughout the play; this is used to show the audience that she is still a child in her parents eyes; because of this her parents believe that the only way out for Sheila is for her to marry the wealthy Gerald Croft, and the also improves their own social standing.

Further in to Act 1 Inspector Goole arrives and explains the suicide of Eva Smith to them. “A young woman died in the infirmary … because she’d swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course.” the inspector tells the family this brutal description of her death in the hopes of shocking the family out of their naive ways. This description makes Eva seem very weak to the males in the play however they do not seem to care due other lower class and probably the fact she is a woman. However Eva was a very strong character and lost her job at Birlings because she stood up for her rights and asked for more payment for her work. Mr Birling clearly didn’t care if she struggled and fired her; and he feels no remorse for it when he says “I can’t except any responsibility” even though it is clear to the audience she wouldn’t have been in the situation to kill herself if Mr Birling had payed her extra.

Later on in act one we discover that Eva worked at Milwards clothing shop after being fired from Birlings; during her time at this shop Sheila was trying on a dress and it didn’t suit her and Eva held the dress up against herself and it suited her. Because of this Sheila became very jealous and used her class and status to get Eva fired. She tells the inspector “She was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself. I couldn’t be sorry for her.” Sheila suggests that Eva looked strong enough to handle losing a job which is dramatic irony as the audience know that is not the case as Eva ends up killing herself. For women in 1912 everything revolved around looks, during the play the way Eva looks is mentioned several times, particularly by the male characters. But after World War One this all changed as upper class women began working for the first time and Great Britain began to show more areas of socialism and equality with the majority of women working and the NHS starting to form.

In acts 2 and 3 we are informed of Gerald’s affair with Eva; he met Eva at the Palace bar, where most men of the town went to meet women. He gave Eva money and somewhere to live for a while and ended it when he had to go away with work. He told the inspector that although she became his mistress “I didn’t install her there so that I could make love to her […] I was sorry for her” by saying this he is making himself sound like the hero but also showing his misconceptions for Eva; he thinks he is weak, maybe because she is a woman, maybe because she is at the Palace bar. But for whatever reason it is he pities Eva and uses her weakness to his advantages which demonstrates inequality between men and women. However, due to this affair Sheila uses her power to end the engagement, but her parents try to stop her which shows the audience how common this type of deception could be.

Towards the end of the play, after the inspector has left, the family discover that Inspector Goole wasn’t a real inspector at all and that there was no suicide. We see the most contrasting views between Mrs Birling and Sheila at this point; Mrs Birling believes that because there was no suicide that the family are guilty of no crimes and that nothing the inspector said mattered. However, Sheila has stronger beliefs in socialism and realises that what the family had all done, whether it had led to a suicide or not, was still wrong, Sheila says to her parents “It frightens me the way you talk, and I can’t listen to any more of it.” she says this because she is scared, she knows the inspector was right in saying that what they had done was wrong. And her mother believes in the upper class society being more important than the lower class. Mrs Birling says to Mr Birling “They’re over-tired, in the morning they’ll be as amused as we are.” Mrs Birling is treating the whole situation as if it is a joke and acts as if the actions of the family count for nothing. However, Sheila is younger and has beliefs in socialism so understands that their actions are wrong and they should be punished.

To conclude, in the play An Inspector Calls, the writer J.B Priestly expresses his views on society before the war and warns the audience that their old ways of living got them into the mess of WWI and WWII; and they shouldn’t make the same mistakes. The play was written in 1945, after both wars, and Priestly shows the naiveness of the upper class society as a exhortatory to show the public how not to treat each other if they want to avoid fighting.   

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