As the Economy Tanks, McCain's Prospects Dim

Maybe the stock markets will bounce back and recover before the end of the day, but seeing the Dow Jones index fall below 10,000 for the first time (I believe) in the Bush presidency (lower than when Bush became president), is a symbolic blow of enormous proportions. I've long argued that giving workers a stake in the stock market through 401(k)'s led them to form the false impression that they were members of the investor class. People no longer see Wall Street as the enemy...their net wealth is tied up in those indexes. When the Dow falls, the day they can retire recedes into the future.

If the stock market remains sharply down today and tomorrow, it will again be the economy that dominates tomorrow's townhall-style debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. McCain knows the debate is critical.

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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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