India's Second Green Revolution

In Washinton today, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he and President Bush were about to start a "second green revolution" along the lines of the first 1970s green revolution, which reversed India's dire food shortage. It established India as one of the world's biggest agricultural producers, and an exporter of food grains.

But in the long run, it also made previously self-sustaining farmers dependent on the global economy, instead of their own fields, to put food on the table. Previously, they had been able to grow what they ate; during the green revolution, the introduction of high-yielding "miracle seeds" made many farmers convert their fields to either wheat or rice. This meant fluctuations in international demand for these crops determined how well the farmers did, and how much money they had to buy food for their families.

Singh needs to move forward cautiously in his development plans. He wants to equip Indian farmers to participate fully in global farm trade, and that is an important step. But by doing so, he is also putting them at the mercy of the world economy. And history shows that this can be a very fickle thing, indeed.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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