A crowd in Burkina Faso (generated by DALL-E)

Common names in Burkina Faso, West-Africa

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Burkina Faso is a multi-cultural and diverse country with a rich history. This article explores how personal names can be interpreted to reflect regional and ethnic appartenance within the country. Then we illustrate how using a personal name can affect a black-box Artificial Intelligence – such as OpenAI’s DALL-E. This is the first article in our series of blog posts with the tag #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist.

Why is this important? A common misconception of biases in machine learning, especially in Europe, is to consider that obfuscating sensitive data (such as gender, race, or ethnicity) will ensure computers will be gender-neutral and colour-blind. In practice, machine learning -especially neural networks applied to natural language processing- can ‘learn’ those variables even when they are not explicitly part of the input. Let’s take the example of resume screening software: the algorithm can learn the gender variable (or a correlated proxy variable) from grammatical rules. AI is such an effective and powerful help in decision-making that most US companies and recruiters rely on AI-powered application tracking systems (ATS). It is estimated that 75% of resumes in the US are read by computers, before reaching the human eye. So even if your resume doesn’t specify your gender or any other sensitive information, such as race or ethnicity, it might affect the way the computer ranks your job application. It takes very proactive effort by companies or ATS software vendors to tackle the issue of bias in AI, but there are solutions (NamSor+Aequitas [PDF], FixOut, etc.)

Here are some common male and female names and surnames in Burkina Faso,

Top female given namesTop male given names
MARIAMADAMA
FATIMATABOUREIMA
AMINATAMOUSSA
RASMATAAMADOU
HAOUAHAMIDOU
SALAMATAABDOULAYE
AWAOUSMANE
MINATASOULEYMANE
AZETASAIDOU
RAMATAHAMA
BIBATAOUMAROU
HABIBOUISSA
FATOUMATAIDRISSA
ALIMATAYACOUBA
FATIRASMANE
FADIMAHAMADOU
AISSATOUMAMOUDOU
SALMATAISSAKA
SALIMATALASSANE
MAMOUNATAHAROUNA
Top 20 given names by gender in Burkina Faso

And here are some common surnames,

Top family name
OUEDRAOGO
SAWADOGO
SAVADOGO
DICKO
DIALLO
OUATTARA
TRAORE
KABORE
TAMBOURA
BELEM
KONATE
LANKOANDE
BARRY
MAIGA
COMPAORE
SIDIBE
SANOU
ZONGO
SANKARA
TINDANO
Top 20 surnames in Burkina Faso

But the prevalence of names varies according to the regions and ethnic groups (Mossi, Fulani, Gurma, Bobo, Gurunsi, Senufo, Bissa, Lobi, Dagara, Tuareg, Ikelan, Dioula …)

This named person does not exist

Since the web site thispersondoesnotexist hit the news, most people have heard of (or experienced) GANs  (generative adversarial network). This particular website generates random faces of people who do not exist in real life: faces are constructed from millions of pictures of male and female people of different age, race, or ethnic backgrounds.

Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of text-to-image AI such as DALL-E, StableDiffusion, Mid journey. In the case of DALL-E, we know that the developpers behind the software tried to mitigate gender and racial bias in the software by randomly appending “female” and “black” to the text input. With this trick, the image generated from the prompt “Portrait of a CEO of a large company” will likely generate images with gender and ethnic diversity. Here is an example:

How likely is the lady on the right to be from Burkina Faso ?

DALL-E has a safety feature to avoid generating explicit images or images of famous people. But you can generate images from personal names that are very common. And, of course, it is very likely to correctly infer gender, race, and ethnicity based on the prompt – because that’s part of the software’s training set.

This Aminata OUEDRAOGO does not exist

We’ve looked at some common names shared by many people in the Nord/Centre-Nord of Burkina Faso and prompted DALL-E to generate portraits. Here are some names,

Common female nameCommon male name
AMINATA OUEDRAOGOABDOULAYE OUEDRAOGO
FATIMATA OUEDRAOGOADAMA OUEDRAOGO
AZETA SAVADOGOBOUREIMA SAWADOGO
MARIAM SAVADOGOHAMADO SAWADOGO
Common names shared by many people in Nord / Centre Nord of Burkina Faso

Here are some of the female portraits generated by DALL-E:

A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Aminata OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E

This Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO does not exist

Here are some of the male portraits generated by DALL-E:w

A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E
A portrait of Abdoulaye OUEDRAOGO #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist #DALL-E

See also those four portraits,

Common Burkina Faso names in Sahel region

Here are some common names in Sahel shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
AISSATOU DICKOAMADOU DIALLO
FADIMA DICKOABDOULAYE DICKO
FATOUMATA TAMBOURAMOUSSA DICKO
MAIRAMA TAMBOURAAMADOU TAMBOURA
Common names in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Plateau Central region

Here are some common names in Plateau Central shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
MARIAM KABOREADAMA KABORE
SALAMATA KABOREHAMADO KABORE
AWA OUEDRAOGOISSAKA OUEDRAOGO
MAMOUNATA OUEDRAOGORASMANE OUEDRAOGO
Common names in the Plateau Central region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Hauts-Bassins region

Here are some common names in Hauts-Bassins shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
MARIAM OUATTARAABDOULAYE TRAORE
AWA TRAOREDRISSA TRAORE
FATOUMATA TRAORELASSINA TRAORE
MINATA TRAOREYACOUBA TRAORE
Common names in the Hauts-Bassins region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Cascades region

Here are some common names in Cascades shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
AWA OUATTARAADAMA OUATTARA
DJENEBA OUATTARADAOUDA OUATTARA
FATOUMATA OUATTARAMAMADOU OUATTARA
KOROTOUMOU OUATTARASEYDOU OUATTARA
Common names in the Cascades region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Boucle du Mouhoun region

Here are some common names in Boucle du Mouhoun region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
FATOUMATA KONATEADAMA KONATE
MARIAM KONATEDRISSA KONATE
AZETA OUEDRAOGOSIAKA KONATE
RAMATA OUEDRAOGOMOUSSA SIDIBE
Common names in the Boucle du Mouhoun region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Est region

Here are some common names in Est region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
FADIMA DIALLOAMADOU BARRY
MARIAM LANKOANDEHAMADOU DIALLO
LARBA LANKOANDEARDJIMA LANKOANDE
DJINGRI TINDANODJINGRI LANKOANDE
Common names in the Est region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Centre-Ouest region

Here are some common names in Centre-Ouest region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
AWA KABOREADAMA KABORE
RASMATA KABORESIBIRI KABORE
RASMATA OUEDRAOGOSAIDOU OUEDRAOGO
RASMATA ZONGOADAMA ZONGO
Common names in the Centre-Ouest region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Centre / Centre-Sud region

Here are some common names in Centre / Centre-Sud region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
MARIAM COMPAOREADAMA COMPAORE
RASMATA NIKIEMAADAMA OUEDRAOGO
BIBATA OUEDRAOGOBOUKARE OUEDRAOGO
MARIAM NIKIEMABOUREIMA OUEDRAOGO
Common names in the Centre / Centre-Sud region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Centre-Sud region

Here are some common names in Centre-Sud region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
MARIAM COMPAOREADAMA COMPAORE
RASMATA NIKIEMAADAMA OUEDRAOGO
BIBATA OUEDRAOGOBOUKARE OUEDRAOGO
MARIAM NIKIEMABOUREIMA OUEDRAOGO
Common names in the Centre-Sudregion of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Sud-Ouest region

Here are some common names in Sud-Ouest region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
OHO DASANSAN DA
YERI HIENSIE DA
YELLI KAMSIE HIEN
INI KAMBOUOLLO KAMBOU
Common names in the Sud-Ouest region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

Common Burkina Faso names in Sud-Ouest region

Here are some common names in Sud-Ouest region shared by many people,

Common female namesCommon male names
OHO DASANSAN DA
YERI HIENSIE DA
YELLI KAMSIE HIEN
INI KAMBOUOLLO KAMBOU
Common names in the Sud-Ouest region of Burkina Faso, shared by many people

We’ll amend this post with links to newly generated images with tag #thisnamedpersondoesnotexist, using the various text-to-image AIs. Keep updated! Also, subscribe to our Twitter account or connect on LinkedIn to hear more about our project to automatically redress gender and racial biases in AI (in collaboration with FIXOUT team).

This blog post used Dall-E for illustration based on the text “A crowd in Burkina Faso. Here is a french version.

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of sociolinguistics software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people. We proudly support Gender Gap Grader.

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