For years, a team at Amazon reportedly worked on software that vetted the resumes of job applicants in an effort to surface the most likely hires.

It gradually became clear that no matter how hard engineers tried to fix it, the recruitment engine found a way to discriminate against women, Reuters reported today.

The outlet cited five sources familiar with the automated CV review program that began in 2014.

According to those sources, a team that consisted of around a dozen engineers was tasked with building a program that would utilise machine learning to review a decade’s worth of CVs submitted to Amazon and its subsequent hiring practices.

The goal was to teach an AI how to identify the most likely hires to streamline the list of potential recruits that would have to be subsequently vetted by human recruiters.

It penalised resumes that included the word “women’s,” as in “women’s chess club captain.” And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter.

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