The passion of the penguins pt. II

Matt's penguin post on Tuesday sparked a number of comments; so here's another take on conservatives' attempts to co-opt the penguins, from Jeff Sharlet.
"On the one hand, there's something thuggish about attempts by some religious conservative media bigs to press penguins into service for the cause... There is, after all, nothing conservative about the instinctual behavior on display in March of the Penguins. The values attributed to this behavior -- monagamy, self-sacrifice, parental love -- are projections, of course... Moreover, monagamy, self-sacrifice, and parental love are no more conservative than they are liberal. They are acts; conservatives believe they should be valued in one fashion, liberals another."
"...[W]hen I saw the film, I was sure that it would destroy the faith of some religious conservatives who hinge their beliefs on gender. How does one reconcile a commitment to 'male headship' of the family with this story in which female penguins are clearly in charge? Perhaps the intelligent designer, in whose image we are made, is a lady penguin?"
(The Revealer)

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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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