The Rolls-Royce of Multi-Cookers

The Rolls-Royce of Multi-Cookers
Illustration: Matthew Cook

WE CAN OFFICIALLY stop debating which is better: the heat-conducting prowess of a Dutch oven or the touch-of-a-button convenience of a multi-cooker. Have it both ways with the Musui-Kamado, from the Japanese company Vermicular. The ingenious design sets an enameled cast-iron pot on an induction-heating base. The lid seals in moisture for remarkably succulent roast chicken—or how about sweet potatoes “steam roasted” with a mere spoonful of water? Radiant heat and precise temperature control make the process foolproof, whether you’re braising, baking, steaming or even sous-vide-ing. $670 for the set, $300 for the pot alone, vermicular.us

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How to Decode a Wordy Wine Label

SOME WORDS ON WINE labels, such as “Chardonnay” or “Sonoma,” have real meaning and convey specific and genuinely useful information. Others, such as “Private Reserve” or “Hand Selected Lots,” do not. In fact, in the U.S., to label a wine as “Private Reserve” or assert that it’s produced from selected lots, a winemaker—or marketer—is required by law to do nothing more than say that it is.

Words do have selling power, of course. Take the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, created by the late Jess Jackson in 1982….

How to Master the French-Girl Cat Eye

THE MUSE AND THE TOOLS Brigitte Bardot on the set of ‘Contempt’ in 1963.
THE MUSE AND THE TOOLS Brigitte Bardot on the set of ‘Contempt’ in 1963. Photo: Getty Images

FEW MAKEUP LOOKS are as enduring, or as tricky to perfect, as the cat eye—that upturned bit of liner that extends past one’s peepers. The coquettish effect is ubiquitous, from runways (see Marni, Chanel) to the red carpet (Cardi B, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus all embraced the cat eye at the 2019 Grammys on Feb. 10). But no one has worn it quite like Brigitte Bardot, who was seldom photographed without her dark winged eyeliner after she broke out in the 1956 film, “And God Created Woman.” “She was a little bit of a feline,” said Peter Philips, the makeup maestro and creative and image director for Dior Makeup. “She wore it in a natural way.” Her inimitable lids became so iconic that in 1961, French cosmetics brand Aziza made her its eye-product poster girl, running ads with the slogan: “For Bardot and for you.”

But are cat eyes for “you”? I’ve often pondered this after my failed efforts to look kittenish left me with liquid liner smeared across my temples. As Mr. Philips explained, a deftly drawn cat eye evokes danger, sensuality and intimidation; my shaky attempts conjure a drunk raccoon or a damp Picasso. He suggests novices start by staring in the mirror—eyes open—and dotting the skin where the wings should end. Tattoo artist and makeup mogul Kat Von D seconded that tip, and she should know, considering she’s been lining her lids since age 12 and has built a cosmetics empire on a best-selling liquid eyeliner.

In a last-ditch effort to overcome my eyeliner ineptitude, I headed to Chanel’s newly opened Atelier Beauté in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, a beauty and fragrance workshop that offers one-on-one makeup lessons. Using the brand’s pencil and liquid liners, makeup artist Cyndle Komarovski gave me a crash course (below) in creating Ms. Bardot’s as-it-turned-out imitable cat eye, which is simpler than it seems. And after nearly two decades of winged failure, finally, my eyes have it.

1. Pencil Eyeliner, $30, chanel.com. 2. Blue Eyeliner, $30.50, dior.com. 3. Kat Von D Beauty Eyeliner, $20, sephora.com. 4. Eyeliner, $58, tomford.com. 5. Eyeliner, $35, chanel.com.
1. Pencil Eyeliner, $30, chanel.com. 2. Blue Eyeliner, $30.50, dior.com. 3. Kat Von D Beauty Eyeliner, $20, sephora.com. 4. Eyeliner, $58, tomford.com. 5. Eyeliner, $35, chanel.com.
1. Pick Your Poison

Proper tools are a must. Cat eyes can be achieved with pencil, gel, or liquid, but newbies should stick to a liquid liner in felt-tip or brush form. On me, Ms. Komarovski started with Chanel’s Le Crayon Khôl in black and then layered the brand’s liquid liner on top.

2. Dot Your Eyes

To achieve a clean, graphic line, you must start by looking in the mirror and making dots where you want the wings to end. Ms. Von D suggests stepping back to ensure the dots are even on both sides.

3. Fill It In

Next, trace your lash lines and connect them to the dots. “Fill it in like a coloring book,” said Ms. Von D. “I personally like to start really thin” a la Ms. Bardot. Mr. Philips concurred: “It’s better to start small and to build it up.”

4. Be a Cat Woman

“A cat eye is not just makeup, it’s also an attitude,” Mr. Philips insisted. “You can paint on a cat eye, but if you don’t carry [yourself] like a cat woman, why make the effort?”

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.

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Finally: A Men’s Leather Jacket That Doesn’t Convey ‘Midlife Crisis’

Jacket, $10,700, Hermès, 212-308-3585
Jacket, $10,700, Hermès, 212-308-3585 Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

Points of Distinction

WHAT A FEELING Hermès used Étrivière lambskin, a pebbled leather with a suede-like touch, supple enough to forgo a lining.

GET STIFFED The jacket is lithe, but the collar has been reinforced with triangular stitching so you can turn it up in a biting wind.

WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? Three slanted pockets are accented with aqua-green zippers—or, in Hermès speak, ‘sportive details.’

LEATHER JACKETS bring to mind noise-polluting motorcycles—blame Marlon Brando and the Hells Angels for that—but Hermès, the 182-year-old French label, has crafted a leather jacket that connotes a quainter form of transportation: the horse. “This jacket is made of Étrivière lambskin, an Hermès heritage leather, originally used for horse-harness straps,” explained Véronique Nichanian, the label’s men’s artistic director. Equestrian leather is not a startling choice for a brand that began in 1837 as a saddlery and whose logo still depicts a horse-drawn carriage. Little else about this coat is predictable, however.

Unlike motorcycle jackets with flappy collars and stiff shells, Hermès’s lambskin proposition is airy. It won’t protect you from road rash if you fall off your chopper, but it will sit on your shoulders as gingerly as a cotton baseball jacket.

It’s rendered in inky green, not the usual gothic black or baseball-mitt brown, with bright seafoam strips at the zippered pockets. The result: modern and not the least bit midlife-crisis-y, especially when styled with bright cotton trousers as it was at the brand’s spring show.

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.

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Just How Green Are U.S. Airlines?

Just How Green Are U.S. Airlines?
Illustration: Brian Stauffer

Virgin Atlantic Airways flew the first biofuel demonstration flight in 2008. Eleven years later, no airline has done much more than that. One of the major elements in reducing aviation-produced greenhouse gases has yet to take off.

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Airlines advertise green initiatives and grab headlines with special flights powered partly by oil produced from plants and other green sources. But biofuel use is but a drop in a very big bucket: United Airlines, ahead of most airlines in green initiatives, burned 1 million gallons of biofuel in 2017 out of 3.36 billion gallons of jet fuel, or 0.03%.

The industry’s move toward reducing carbon emissions has been slow. Improvements in new airplanes have reduced emissions significantly, but with more airplanes flying more people, overall tonnage of carbon emitted by commercial aviation has been inching higher, not lower, in recent years.

The Environmental Protection Agency says U.S. commercial-aviation carbon dioxide emissions increased 6.2% from 2010 to 2016. Passenger-car CO2 emissions increased 1.2% over the same period.

United has been a leader among airlines in trying to advance biofuel to reduce overall airline carbon emissions. But biofuel accounted for only 0.03% of United’s fuel consumption in 2017.
United has been a leader among airlines in trying to advance biofuel to reduce overall airline carbon emissions. But biofuel accounted for only 0.03% of United’s fuel consumption in 2017. Photo: United Airlines

“It’s kind of business as usual,” says Dan Rutherford, aviation program director for the nonprofit International Council on Clean Transportation. U.S. airline greenhouse-gas emissions hit a new high in 2017, he says. While passenger traffic was up about 10% from 2015 to 2017, fuel efficiency improved about 3%, leaving a roughly 7% increase in emissions. It’s been pretty much the same story world-wide.

“The increases in demand continue to outstrip the improvements in fuel efficiency, so net emissions continue to rise,” Mr. Rutherford says.

Scientists say carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a heat-trapping blanket that raises temperatures and adds to climate change. They warn that failure to reverse the trend of increasing greenhouse gases could lead to flooding, droughts and other large-scale catastrophes.

Jet airplanes affect the climate in two ways: emitting carbon dioxide and depositing water vapor and particles at high altitude, which form thin clouds that can heat the planet. Scientists say both are minor drivers of climate change compared with other sources. World-wide, air transportation accounts for about 2% of global carbon emissions.

The airline industry committed to three environmental goals in 2009 and may struggle to reach the most important objectives. Airlines are on pace to exceed a short-term goal of improving fuel efficiency by 1.5% a year.

Today’s new planes are about 20% more fuel-efficient than the previous generation from the 1990s, Airbus and Boeing say, and 70% more fuel-efficient than early jets of the 1960s. On a per-passenger basis, fuel economy has improved: Airlines now fly with fewer empty seats and more seats packed into each jet. But most of the improvement has come from manufacturers. Engines get more thrust out of the fuel they burn, planes are much lighter today and aerodynamics has reduced drag.

The split wingtip on the new Boeing 737 MAX improves the efficiency of the wing and reduces fuel burn. The newest 737 reduces carbon emissions about 20% when compared with 737s produced in the 1990s.
The split wingtip on the new Boeing 737 MAX improves the efficiency of the wing and reduces fuel burn. The newest 737 reduces carbon emissions about 20% when compared with 737s produced in the 1990s. Photo: The Boeing Company

The second goal, to have all growth starting next year and beyond take place without increasing carbon emissions, will happen only by purchasing carbon offsets in the marketplace, officials say. Airlines will essentially be paying to plant trees to remove as much carbon dioxide as their new flights create.

Offsets may become a big factor in aviation, likely pushing up ticket prices in the future. Corporate contracts with airlines increasingly include an offset, airline executives say. Companies have to disclose their own environmental impact, and the carbon emissions from employee air travel factor into that.

Offsets typically aren’t expensive. Christine Boucher, Delta’s managing director for global environment, sustainability and compliance, says it costs less than $5 to offset the carbon produced by one passenger round trip between Atlanta and New York.

United and Delta offer carbon calculators and links to making contributions to environmental groups with cash or miles to offset your particular emissions on a trip. Airlines say usage is very low.

The long-term aviation industry goal, experts say, is the most difficult for the industry to achieve: a 50% reduction in the volume of emissions by 2050 compared with 2005 emissions. United, for example, has reduced emissions from 2005 levels by 16%. To get the rest of the way, the aviation industry is counting on future technologies.

“I think we have to get there. It’s not easy, but it is realistic,” says Robert Michael, senior manager of product marketing for Boeing.

Unlike ground activities like electricity generation or road transport, long-haul flying doesn’t have alternatives and will depend on liquid fuels for decades to come. The International Air Transport Association, an airline group, says electric commercial aircraft aren’t likely before 2040. Even then, the weight of batteries and the amount of power needed will be restrictive.

The Burning Question

U.S. airlines have grown more efficient, but carrying more passengers means they’ve burned more fuel in recent years.

Annual fuel consumption for U.S. airlines*

billion gallons

“Electric will not be the solution for all flights, particular long-range flights,” says Hubert Mantel, head of environmental affairs for Airbus.

Much of the hope for future improvement centers on biofuel—oil made from plants or recycled waste and refined into jet fuel that can burn with the same energy in jet engines without any changes to the engines.

What comes out the back of a jet engine burning biofuel is basically as dirty in terms of carbon emissions, though many biofuels do burn with lower sulfur emissions. The big difference in carbon is on the ground in what’s called the life cycle of the fuel.

Plant-based biofuel pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as the plants grow. Recycling carbon waste into biofuel also produces benefits on the ground. Biofuel is cleaner because no drilling is involved and refining products pollute less. If produced near airports, transporting biofuel may result in lower emissions than petroleum fuels, too. Add all that up and biofuel can be 20% to 80% cleaner than regular jet fuel, even though your flight produces the same amount of CO2.

So far, only one airport in the U.S., Los Angeles International, and three in Scandinavia have regular supplies of biofuel, and those are in very small quantities. The industry hopes it can get to 2% biofuel within the next six years.

United is working with two biofuel producers and using all the biofuel it can get. By locking in agreements with producers early, United has biofuel at reasonable prices, says Gavin Molloy, United’s vice president of corporate real estate and environmental affairs.

“If we could power all our aircraft with biofuel today, we’d probably do that,” he says.

For most airlines, cost represents the primary headwind. Biofuel can range from about $4.50 a gallon to $8.50 a gallon. The current spot price for traditional fuel is $1.87 a gallon. As a result, manufacturers have been slow to produce large quantities.

Tax incentives in California led a supplier there to focus on biodiesel for road vehicles rather than jet fuel. In January, similar tax credits were extended to aviation, and United hopes that will improve its biofuel supply.

The International Air Transport Association says aviation fuel should at least get the same tax breaks as road transportation, and is pushing governments around the world to stimulate biofuel development with tax incentives.

“It’s not a technical issue anymore,” says Michael Gill, IATA’s director of aviation environment. “The cost is the main factor.”

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com

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Appeared in the February 14, 2019, print edition as ‘Airlines Struggle With the Goal of Going Green.’

This Iconic Hollywood Restaurant Lets You Travel Back in Time

Then

LONG BEFORE Hollywood Boulevard had its Walk of Fame, it had the Musso & Frank Grill. Or, as it was originally called, “Frank’s Café”—the brainchild of entrepreneur Frank Toulet. He opened the joint in 1919, just as Hollywood was completing its metamorphosis from rural backwater to the movie capital of the world. With the nearest eateries still miles away, Toulet figured film workers might appreciate a convenient place to dine.

By the early ’20s, when Toulet joined with restaurateur Joseph Musso and renamed the place…

‘Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment’ Review: History Through an Ideological Filter

Albert Bierstadt’s ‘Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite’ (c. 1871-73), left, and Valerie Hegarty’s ‘Fallen Bierstadt’ (2007), right
Albert Bierstadt’s ‘Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite’ (c. 1871-73), left, and Valerie Hegarty’s ‘Fallen Bierstadt’ (2007), right Photo: From left: North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; © Valerie Hegarty/Brooklyn Museum

Salem, Mass.

One of the provocative displays in “Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment,” the elaborately polemical exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, places Albert Bierstadt’s luminous “Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite” (c. 1871-73) alongside its evisceration. In Bierstadt’s painting, the cataract’s mist disperses spectral light as towering cliffs nestle Edenic wildlife. To the right is a swollen replica of the painting in a similarly gilded frame. It hangs askew, bent, its bottom melted and charred, its images gouged by fire or sabotage. This is Valerie Hegarty’s “Fallen Bierstadt” (2007).

It isn’t a deconstruction; it’s a demolition. And we are meant to cheer the effort, for it is close to the exhibition’s own.

Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment

Peabody Essex Museum
Through May 5

In over 100 objects—ranging from a mahogany chest to a Georgia O’Keeffe oil, from a 19th-century Tlingit robe to Linnaeus’s 18th-century lists of species—we are swept along in a narrative that invokes Native American history, American history, natural philosophy, environmental science, and progressive politics, in service to what the catalog calls “ecocritical art history.”

The show originated at the Princeton University Art Museum, where its curators—Karl Kusserow, at the Princeton museum, and Alan C. Braddock, who teaches art history and American studies at the College of William & Mary—also edited the ambitious catalog. At the Peabody Essex, the curators—Austen Barron Bailly and Karen Kramer—substituted some works and shortened exhibition text. (The show next travels to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark., May 25-Sept. 9.)

And what is its argument?

Take Bierstadt: These landscapes, we are told, were meant to show the West free of human presence, even though Indian tribes had been there for millennia. “Paintings like this one,” we read, “legitimized U.S. land theft and violence against Indigenous people.” “Fallen Bierstadt” is an attack on that idea; it “questions the way such traditional landscape painting idealizes nature.”

Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘The Lawrence Tree’ (1929)
Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘The Lawrence Tree’ (1929) Photo: © Georgia O?Keeffe Museum/ARS

The erasure of history in Western landscapes, it is suggested, is also true of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s 1858 plan for Central Park, also on display, along with a period photograph of its barren earth. The exhibition correctly points out that both omit the fact that some 1,600 residents—including a majority African-American community—were moved to make way for an idealized Nature.

Thus, what we don’t see becomes the main point—at least until the exhibition reaches contemporary times, when so much of what we see are explicit images of environmental depredation and what is called “environmental racism.” “Browning of America” (2000) by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith shows a map of the U.S. stained with brown streaks, which are meant to be “reasserting Indigenous presence.”

The source of the violence against indigenous peoples and the environment, we are informed, is an ancient Western conception of Nature: “The Great Chain of Being”—a hierarchical ordering of the natural world. It is reflected in Linnaeus’s lists of species, or in a 1579 engraving by Diego de Valadés that “positioned God in Heaven atop a descending scale” of life.

Nathan Begaye’s ‘Snow Cloud’ jar (1998)
Nathan Begaye’s ‘Snow Cloud’ jar (1998) Photo: Peabody Essex Museum

This Chain, it is suggested, justified mistreatment of non-European humans and nonhuman life forms. In contrast, tribute here is paid to the ecological understanding of indigenous peoples. The robe woven by a Tlingit artist reflects “deeply held beliefs about the interrelationships between humans and other beings” and affirms values “encompassing the natural world and the wider universe.”

Actually, the exhibition affirms an even steeper hierarchy than the one it attacks. The indigenous good guys are “interconnected,” “inclusive,” “organic”; the nonindigenous are expansionist, hierarchical, rigid. Race also becomes a marker. Grafton Tyler Brown’s “View of the Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” (1890) is here partly because the painter was African-American. His “unusual” perspective, we are told, is “more intimate” than that of his white predecessors. It is also far less accomplished—though this is not suggested. But the catalog affirms Brown’s “early assertion of environmental justice.”

Meanwhile, the mahogany chest (1755-74) recalls that “enslaved Africans and Indigenous people located, cut down, and moved mahogany logs,” depleting old-growth forests. A silver urn (c. 1800) recalls the “poisoning, maiming, and death of millions” in South American silver mines. This approach sweeps all before it; every museum—like all of history—is a charnel house.

If this perspective seems familiar, it is because it is now at the heart of American education. But almost everything about it is also open to question. Ever hike in Yosemite? In the 19th century it was not a delusion to be amazed at its vastness, nor was it a distortion to see few humans; the Western regions were immense, and Native populations were mostly nomadic hunters and gatherers.

As for the Great Chain, it is one of many Western attempts to comprehend the world’s variety; in many respects—as with Linnaeus’s classifications—it allowed for increased understanding. Moreover, the main period here, the 19th century, was precisely when hierarchy was being questioned in physics, biology and politics. In fact, the most important aspect of the U.S., as European observers recognized, was that it dissolved many social boundaries. As for slavery, ultimately the contradiction between slavery and these ideals made it untenable.

Were there depredations? Moral stains? Surely. But seeing American art and history through this exhibition’s monochromatic, ideological filters turns history into a morality play, its lessons as leaden and obvious as the comments posted at the exhibition’s end, when visitors are asked for environmental recommendations: plant a garden, eat less meat, impeach Trump, don’t use straws.

A Crucial Step for Averting AI Disasters

A Crucial Step for Averting AI Disasters
Illustration: Daria Kirpach

Artificial intelligence isn’t always intelligent enough at the office.

One major company built a job-applicant screening program that automatically rejected most women’s résumés. Others developed facial-recognition algorithms that mistook many black women for men.

The expanding use of AI is attracting new attention to the importance of workforce diversity. Although tech companies have stepped up efforts to recruit women and minorities, computer and software professionals who write AI programs are still largely white and male, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.

Deborah Harrison, left, leader of the editorial writing team for Microsoft’s Personality Chat project, works with diverse colleagues from various creative, technical and artistic backgrounds to write small talk for bots.
Deborah Harrison, left, leader of the editorial writing team for Microsoft’s Personality Chat project, works with diverse colleagues from various creative, technical and artistic backgrounds to write small talk for bots. Photo: Baret Yahn

Developers testing their products often rely on data sets that lack adequate representation of women or minority groups. One widely used data set is more than 74% male and 83% white, research shows. Thus, when engineers test algorithms on these databases with high numbers of people like themselves, they may work fine.

The risk of building the resulting blind spots or biases into tech products multiplies exponentially with AI, damaging customers’ trust and cutting into profit. And the benefits of getting it right expand as well, creating big winners and losers.

Flawed algorithms can cause freakish accidents, usually because they’ve been tested or trained on flawed or incomplete databases. Google came under fire in 2015 when its photo app tagged two African-American users as gorillas. The company quickly apologized and fixed the problem. And Amazon.com halted work a couple of years ago on an AI screening program for tech-job applicants that systematically rejected résumés mentioning the word “women’s,” such as the names of women’s groups or colleges. (Reuters originally reported this development.) An Amazon spokeswoman says the program was never used to evaluate applicants.

Broader evidence of bias came in a 2018 study of three facial-recognition tools of the kind used by law-enforcement agencies to find criminal suspects or missing children. Analyzing a diverse sample of 1,270 people, the programs misidentified up to 35% of dark-skinned women as men, compared with a top error rate for light-skinned men of only 0.8%. The study was led by Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass.

The findings have spurred calls for closer scrutiny. Microsoft recently called on governments to regulate facial-recognition technology and to require auditing of systems for accuracy and bias. The AI Now Institute, a research group at New York University, is studying ways to reduce bias in AI systems.

An algorithm can become a black box in the marketplace, however. Algorithms can learn and make predictions on data without being explicitly programmed to do so. This process continues in the background after a program is built, says Douglas Merrill, CEO of ZestFinance, a Los Angeles maker of machine-learning tools for financial-services companies.

Douglas Merrill, CEO of ZestFinance in Los Angeles, says diverse employee teams may have more conflicts, but they also produce better AI programs.
Douglas Merrill, CEO of ZestFinance in Los Angeles, says diverse employee teams may have more conflicts, but they also produce better AI programs. Photo: Jeff Galfer/ZestFinance

Any biases in the algorithm can skew companies’ decision-making in costly ways. One financial-services company’s algorithm noticed that people with high mileage on their cars and those living in a particular state tended to be poor credit risks, Dr. Merrill says. Each factor alone made some sense, but combining the two would have led the company, unintentionally, to reject an undue number of African-American applicants, he says. After ZestFinance rewrote the algorithm and added a large number of additional criteria, many of those same applicants proved creditworthy.

Eliminating bias up front among those who write the code is essential. “That’s why we work so hard on building diverse teams,” says Dr. Merrill, a former CIO of Google. Asked about the makeup of his 100-person workforce, he ticks off a half-dozen groups his employees represent, including a high percentage of women, as well as military veterans and people with disabilities.

“The biases that are implicit in one team member are clear to, and avoided by, another,” Dr. Merrill says. “So it’s really key to get people who aren’t alike.”

Successful AI programs promise to open up new markets for some companies. Ford Motor Credit found in a joint 2017 study with ZestFinance that machine learning may enable it to broaden credit approvals among young adults and other applicants without lowering its underwriting standards.

Some Fortune 500 companies are using tools that deploy artificial intelligence to weed out job applicants. But is this practice fair? In this episode of Moving Upstream, WSJ’s Jason Bellini investigates.

Younger applicants are often routinely denied loans because they don’t have a credit history and their incomes are low, Dr. Merrill says. Machine learning allows lenders to scrutinize a much larger number of decision-making criteria, including whether the applicant has paid rent and cellphone bills on time, made regular deposits into savings accounts and other measures of responsible behavior. This may help identify many more creditworthy young people. “The answer to almost every question in machine learning is more data,” Dr. Merrill says.

A spokeswoman for Ford Motor Credit says the company is continuing to work on machine-learning applications.

Affectiva, an AI company based in Boston, has attracted more than 100 corporate customers by amassing a database of 4 billion facial images from 87 countries. It develops technology to read the emotional expressions on those faces accurately, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. Companies use its software to study consumers’ reactions to proposed ads and promotions, and auto makers use it to monitor drivers for drowsiness and distraction.

At one point, Rana el Kaliouby, Affectiva CEO and co-founder says, women working in the company’s Cairo office asked, “Are there any people in here who look like us?” Engineers quickly added images of Muslim women wearing hijabs.

“You need diversity in the data, and more important, in the team that’s designing the algorithm,” Dr. el Kaliouby says. “If you’re a 30-year-old white guy who’s programming this algorithm, you might not think about, ‘Oh, does this data set include a woman wearing a hijab?’ ”

Beyond racial and gender diversity, Microsoft recruits employees with diverse creative and artistic skills to help write conversational language for its Cortana virtual assistant and Personality Chat, an AI program that handles small talk for bots developed by others. Team members have included a playwright, a poet, a comic-book author, a philosophy major, a songwriter, a screenwriter, an essayist and a novelist, whose professional skills equip them to write upbeat language for the bots and anticipate diverse users’ reactions, says Deborah Harrison, a senior manager and team leader. They also teach the bots to avoid, say, misusing ethnic slang or making sexualized remarks.

One team labored over how Cortana should respond to a user who announced, “I’m gay,” Ms. Harrison says. Her team came up with a pleasant, nonjudgmental response: “I’m AI.” But they weren’t satisfied, she says. It was a teenage visitor to their lab who suggested a tweak that finally pleased everyone: “Cool. I’m AI.”

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at sue.shellenbarger@wsj.com

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Annie Leibovitz on Being Envious of Herself

Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz Photo: © Annie Leibovitz

After Annie Leibovitz’s start as a staff photographer for Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone in 1970, her first cover for the magazine—a black-and-white portrait of a boyish-looking John Lennon—ran in January 1971, when Leibovitz was just 21. Almost a decade later, she took the now-iconic photograph of Lennon nude and curled around Yoko Ono in bed, just hours before Lennon’s assassination; the print became the magazine’s striking memorial cover. Leibovitz’s other subjects for the magazine, where she worked until 1983, when she left for Vanity Fair, included dozens of other artists who shaped the era, like Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. Now, in Annie Leibovitz: The Early Years, 1970–1983, a new show opening February 14 at Hauser & Wirth in L.A., Leibovitz revisits that work for the first time. The photographer combed through thousands of images to select the more than 4,000 pictures in the exhibition. She talks about curating the show with WSJ.:

WSJ. Magazine: What was your emotional reaction to looking back on your early work?

Annie Leibovitz: Well, it is very emotional to see that period. Installing it in L.A., I realized how the work was really born in California. I worked for Rolling Stone for 13 years, and for the first seven or eight, a lot of the work was there: driving the highways, the offices, living in San Francisco and going down to L.A. to do work. There’s some of my family pictures in there as well. And a lot of people I photographed aren’t with us any longer, so both those things become very emotional to me. The writers Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson aren’t with us anymore. You look at it and you see this bygone era of sorts that resonates with today and what’s going on with our politics today, on some level—kind of mirroring the Nixon period.

But I can also stand outside of it and look at it as the story of a young photographer learning how to take photographs. Learning how to see, learning how to look, learning. You know, I was obsessed. Everything was about photography. I had my camera with me all the time and I lived with my camera. On some level, to grow up for me was having to wean myself from all that—to start to have a life.

How did you choose the photos in the show?

I wanted it to overwhelm a young photographer… I’ve always been in love with the series in photography, how photographs sort of bounce off each other, and how they give it a new meaning when you see them next to each other, like brothers and sisters. In the end, I’ve always understood that the power of my work is going to be the body of work.

How did your eye develop over the years?

At one point I thought maybe I was a journalist. But I realized that I probably was not, because I had a point of view and I thought the work was stronger if it had a personal point of view.

TOUR DE FORCE Leibovitz was the tour photographer for the Rolling Stones, whose fans are pictured above, in 1975. “I turned into a nocturnal animal,” she says. Rolling Stones tour, Cleveland, Ohio, 1975
TOUR DE FORCE Leibovitz was the tour photographer for the Rolling Stones, whose fans are pictured above, in 1975. “I turned into a nocturnal animal,” she says. Rolling Stones tour, Cleveland, Ohio, 1975 Photo: © Annie Leibovitz, The Early Years, 1970 – 1983: Archive Project No. 1

At what point did you realize your talent for portraits?

I don’t think I ever thought that way. I think that I got tired of having a label of some kind. When I worked at Rolling Stone, I was a music photographer, and then when I went to Vanity Fair, I was a celebrity photographer. I realized, maybe people will leave me alone if I just said I was a portrait photographer, you know? In portraiture, you’re allowed to take some license. You’re allowed to use journalism, you’re allowed to use creativity, you’re allowed to go off the grid, go off the deep end, you know? You can have all different ways of approaching how to take a photograph.

I first looked back at this period of work in 1990, in this book that had John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover [Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990]. When I first looked at it, I thought Oh, I’m so envious of that young work. It’s just so pure and energetic and out there and journalistic, and it was very powerful. I did try to integrate some of that in my portraiture. And that’s kind of where I’m at now. I think I’m kind of a hybrid—it looks a little bit like journalism, but it’s still a very set up, posed picture.

You’ve written before that the best photos you’ve made of musicians were of the Rolling Stones on tour. Still true?

Yes. I was asked to be the tour photographer for the 1975 Rolling Stones tour, and of course I said yes, because Robert Frank did the 1972 Rolling Stones tour and Robert Frank was like God to me. [The band was] very open. I was hired to get publicity pictures, and after the first week I never saw the daylight again. I turned into a nocturnal animal. So I was very ingrained and working in a way that was very special. So they, of course, are the best [of my] work of that period of musicians. I didn’t look at the work for a long time afterwards because I didn’t want it to be so romantic and it just still has a sense or a feeling of romance. But I’m long past that now, so.

What’s the most important thing you could achieve with your art?

Having done this for so long, almost 50 years, sometimes it’s just about having a record. The body of work takes over. It’s bigger than me. It has just a sense of history, and I feel committed and responsible to working until I can’t work any longer and continuing this body of work to look at this period of time.

Is there something about the way you work that gets subjects to open up?

When you’re young, no one’s paying any attention to you. Imagine you’re a girl, size S. No one’s really paying attention, and I think that I wasn’t really known until maybe the ‘90s, when I did that book and people began to connect who I was with my photography. Sometimes it works against you to be known, and people don’t really want to deal with that. But that being said, I think that I’m pretty direct. I’m pretty straightforward and no-nonsense and we get to work right away.

FAMILY MATTERS Marilyn Leibovitz, Dulles International Airport, Virginia, 1972 / Samuel Leibovitz, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1972
FAMILY MATTERS Marilyn Leibovitz, Dulles International Airport, Virginia, 1972 / Samuel Leibovitz, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1972 Photo: © Annie Leibovitz, The Early Years, 1970 – 1983: Archive Project No. 1

What books do you read?

When I first started taking photographs, in ‘69, ‘70, there were not that many photography books, there were just a few. But now it’s pretty prolific. I’m just looking at two catalogs that are just incredible: that David Wojnarowicz catalog from the Whitney, which is an incredible volume, and then also the Brassaï catalog from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s show. That’s what’s sitting on my table right now.

I’m also reading Beto O’Rourke’s blogs. I’m very impressed with him and his stream-of-consciousness writing. He’s out there meeting people and he’s telling their stories. He’s out searching, and I find it very appealing because I can identify with that.

And what’s next?

Well, it’s hard for me, I can’t tell you what I’m doing, literally. But this year I am working on a series, of course, of portraits throughout the year of a lot of politics. This weekend I’ll be doing one, but I can’t tell you who they are. But you can imagine. And suffice it to say, whoever you can think of, that’s what I’m working on.

Corrections & Amplifications
Leibovitz combed through thousands of images to select the more than 4,000 pictures for the show. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated she selected more than 5,000. (February 13, 2019)

Can a Grown Woman Wear a Hair Bow?

BOW FLEXERS Clockwise from top left: Kate Middleton; Minnie Mouse; Ariana Grande; Alison Brie; Emma Stone; Elle Fanning; Gwyneth Paltrow
BOW FLEXERS Clockwise from top left: Kate Middleton; Minnie Mouse; Ariana Grande; Alison Brie; Emma Stone; Elle Fanning; Gwyneth Paltrow Photo: Getty Images (7)
Why We Love Them

DURING MY CHILDHOOD in the Chicago suburbs, every day was a hair-bow day. Piano recitals and church on Sundays were cause for embellishment, sure, but so were apple picking and playing soccer. So my heart skipped a beat when, decades later, in my capacity as a fashion reporter, I watched the hair adornment come down the spring 2016 Oscar de la Renta runway in its simplest form—black and loosely tied. Since then, hair bows, once the territory of girlish characters like Hello Kitty, have become a signature for fashionable women like Ariana Grande and Kate Middleton. I have eagerly tried them in many forms, feeling festive on Christmas Eve with a bejeweled barrette and fancying myself the most put-together mom at preschool pickup with a simple grosgrain strand tying back my waves.

Not content to let hair have all the fun, evening wear has co-opted bows. I swooned at the orange velvet bow accenting Constance Wu’s nude Vera Wang gown at the 2019 Golden Globes and marveled at the gold sequined Louis Vuitton bow bedecking Emma Stone’s neck at the SAG Awards. And in last month’s Paris couture shows, an exaggerated bow blossomed from the back of a gown at Valentino and bows on backpacks figured at Givenchy. Fanciful bows ornamented several styles at Rodarte’s recent fashion show in Los Angeles; one such knot was fashioned into a giant blue clutch.

“Women are owning their maturity and power at this moment,” said Jennifer Behr, founder and designer of an eponymous accessories line. Ms. Behr, who has a background in sculpture, makes sophisticated hair accessories that often integrate bows, such as a delicate velvet barrette worn by Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men.” Today’s bows ditch the campy, high-school associations of the last, “Gossip Girl”-fueled go-round a decade ago: big, bold and perched on a headband. These nouveau-bows are sophisticated, not sweet, and yet still a welcome relief from the dour news cycle: “People want a little bit of fun and whimsy,” Ms. Behr said.

Clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs spring 2019; Erdem spring 2019; Top, $695, Marc Jacobs, 212-832-3905; Earrings, $34,700, Irene Neuwirth, 323-285-2000; Shoes, $950, Prada, 212-334-8888
Clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs spring 2019; Erdem spring 2019; Top, $695, Marc Jacobs, 212-832-3905; Earrings, $34,700, Irene Neuwirth, 323-285-2000; Shoes, $950, Prada, 212-334-8888 Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas (top and shoes)

“I love them with every bone in my body,” said Nell Diamond, founder of the home line Hill House Home. Ms. Diamond has shopped all over Manhattan for ribbons to tie into her hair, from midtown’s M&J Trimming to a children’s salon in the West Village. She prefers a thick ribbon in a color that contrasts with her brunette locks, say a green or the occasional pink. The 30-year-old proudly wears a bow to her most serious business meetings, turning the little-girl cliché on its head. “We are at a place in fashion where we are not policing women in the same way,” Ms. Diamond said. “Bows represent this freedom to adorn ourselves the way we want to adorn ourselves.”

Why We Hate Them

AND YET, when Alison Brie stepped out onto the SAG Awards red carpet a few weeks back sporting a black Miu Miu frock with a monstrously large bow at the back, I recoiled. The actress’s glittering satin adornment extended sideways well past her shoulders and down to her elbows, a bow that had mutated into a pair of wings. Two much smaller bows clung to either side of her bodice, serving as syrupy cherries on top of an already too-sweet sundae.

I wondered: Have we already reached the too-much-of-a-good-thing point of the trend cycle? Jessica Councell, a 30-year-old nurse in Boise, Idaho, has done something of an about-face. She didn’t mind the occasional bow when she first took notice of the trend last year, even if it wasn’t something she would adopt herself. But then bows began aggressively infiltrating her Instagram feed, dredging up memories of preppy girls who sported them in field-hockey games at her Washington, D.C., high school. Ms. Councell questions the bow-donners’ motives: “It feels like you wear it to be seen,” she said.

There’s also the question of context. Bows have their place on a runway or a red carpet, or in a magazine spread, said Melissa Thornton, 31, who works in product strategy in Raleigh, N.C. For mere mortals heading to the office on a weekday, tying one on may not achieve the vibe of, say, circa-1960s Catherine Deneuve. “Most American women are not really pulling it off,” Ms. Thornton said. “I know we wish that we all were—I wish that I was—but it’s not happening.” Bows on clothing are a non-starter for Ms. Thornton, a San Diego native who prefers a more relaxed kind of cool. “To me,” she said, “a bow is always an extra thing, it’s always kind of fussy.”

Melissa Ventosa Martin, a stylist and the fashion director at Departures magazine, suggests sticking to a medium-thick ribbon tied around one’s waist or encircling a low pony. “I’m definitely more a fan [of the] very simple touch,” Ms. Ventosa Martin said. And it must be black—anything else veers into dangerous territory. “It gets too girlie for me,” she added. “Too froufrou, over-the-top.”

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