12 Worker Suicides at Apple Factory Rock the Sweatshop Supply System

Apple's been all over the news these days, and not just because of the iPad. For weeks, reports have been emerging about a high number of worker suicides at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. The Taiwanese-owned company is the largest final assembler of mobile phones in the world, producing phones and other electronics for Sony, HP, Nokia, and Dell, along with Apple. More than a half million people work for the company in China alone.

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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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