Three Black Female Leaders Thinking

I'm co-facilitating for a wonderful group of black female school leaders - called Thinking Heads. We've got a WhatsApp group. And like all WhatsApp groups, the most important thing is to get the profile image right.

So I tasked an AI image generator (not saying which) to make one.

If you've used ChatGPT, or similar, then you'll know that how you ask is as important as what you ask. AI answers with an aggregated and nuanced mash up of what us humans do; what we say; how we think. But what comes back can seem way off. That's because a simple request is laden with biases, expectations and assumptions. And as with text, so with images.

See what you make of my efforts here. Remember, I want an image to represent the people in the WhatsApp group.

Right. Here we go. "A Thinking Leader" please.

Hmmm. OK. Not quite matching the group demographic there.

Let's up the numbers.

"Three leaders thinking" please.

OK. A few issues here and not just numeric.

Try again.

"Three leaders thinking" Go on, you can do it!

No you can't.

There we go.

But. But you're seeing the issue here, right?

Let me spell it out, shall I!

"Three black leaders" please.

OK. OK. Closer, definitely closer.

Let me be more specific.

"Three female leaders thinking".


I want diversity. Is that so hard?



So. I need to be totally explicit do I?

"Three black female leaders thinking."


Got there. At last. Or did I?

You see the issue though? I had to spell it out. The default leader is white male. Specifically having to request "black" and "female" reveals an historic, systemic and exclusive bias. AI is not to blame. We are. AI holds up a mirror to humanity.

To be fair, the makers of AI direct users to give as much detail in their requests as they can. However there is a lot to be learned when that detail is missing. I didn't mention age. I didn't describe expression or emotion.  I didn't describe body language. So AI pinged back the default. The bias.

I tried another program with the same prompts and eventually got to the image below that now represents the group. I added the word 'confident'. How are you seeing that image? I think there's still work to do. Maybe a photo of the members. Go old school.