Vinodkumar Prabhakaran started off his presentation on Bias and Fairness in NLP at the EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 with a well-known riddle for the audience:
“A man and his son are in a terrible accident and are rushed to the hospital in critical care. The doctor looks at the boy and exclaims “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son!” How could this be?”
The answer is quite simple: the doctor is the mother.
The riddle draws on the fact that humans generally associate a doctor with being male, and so many people are stumped trying to understand how the doctor…