The Environment Is a Casualty of Bush's Latest Budget

A president's priorities become clearer at budget time, even if Congress eventually rearranges things entirely. And that's true about the place of energy and climate change in President Bush's spending plan for next year.

Coal and nuclear power see big boosts in the 2009 Energy Department budget request sent to Congress Monday, and Mr. Bush is again calling for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The budget favors nuclear and "clean coal" options over renewable power sources, McClatchy Newspapers noted.

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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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