The Financial Times are addressing gender discrimination in their pages with an automated ‘bot’ to warn journalists when they don’t use enough women experts in their articles. ‘JanetBot’ was developed after being suggested during an internal hackathon to spark new product ideas. JanetBot is the result of a collaboration between FT Labs, Data Analytics, Editorial Technology, and the FT newsroom. The bot is named after Janet Louise Yellen, an American economist who was featured in three articles on the day the prototype was used.
The ‘bot’ analyses gender ratios in images and names in the FT. Priority is given to the first few articles of the home page in order to increase the visibility of women at first glance. the bot uses facial recognition technology, which is then checked by staff: while it is still early days in terms of the technology, the FT says, “Focusing on visual diversity (images) was the most straightforward solution in a hackathon setting and as a first product iteration; but it is only a starting point.”