We Have Everything We Need Already: Community Control of Education

Shilpa Jain has served as a full-time “learning activist” with Shikshantar, an India-based people’s movement which aims to regenerate “living and learning communities” grounded in diverse cultures and languages, as opposed to a stultifying colonial-legacy education. Shilpa continues to be part of a movement to nurture different modes of learning, to reclaim and share knowledge that reflects community wisdom and values. What’s at stake is nothing less than who controls information and interpretation, what values are propagated, and what kind of society we end up with.

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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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