Torture and terror: two great tastes...

The Associated Press released a poll yesterday which finds that a whopping 61% of Americans approve of torture tactics when it comes to the war on terror. I was shocked by that number... Melanie Colburn over at MoJo points out an ABC poll last year that shows only 35% approved of torture. Both numbers reflect statements (as least as presented in the articles) that people approve of torture "when other methods fail and authorities believe the suspect has information that could prevent terrorist attacks."

What's not covered in this year's story is what tactics people have problems with. Physical abuse and sexual humiliation in last year's poll dropped the approval rates even lower; psychological torture (loud noises, sleep deprivation, etc.) were deemed OK by 42% of the respondents.

This year's coverage of people's feelings on when torture should be used rallies around the fact that it's not just us Americans that dig it -- we're consoling ourselves as a nation now that the majority of our friends in the UK, France and South Korea think it's a good idea to use torture to prevent terrorism. Here's an interesting twist from CNN's coverage, though:

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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.

What you can do:
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