The Big Life Challenges Facing the 20-Something Generation

People in their 20s are taking a perplexingly long time to grow up these days -- at least that's the story we're hearing in the media. According to this narrative, young people are stuck in a phase of arrested development, moving in with their parents more often and committing to jobs and marriages later. Most recently, the notion that young people refuse to grow up is the premise for a widely discussed New York Times magazine cover story, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?”

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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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