Nationwide Boycott of Hyatt Hotels Launched; LGBT and Feminist Organizations Join Unions to Fight for Workers

Imagine cleaning thirty hotel rooms in an eight hour shift, struggling with heavy mattresses to make up the beds, kneeling to scrub floors, and pushing heavily-laden cleaning carts through endless corridors. Now think about doing it day after day for years or decades, with limited time off; need a C-section? Your employer expects you back at work three days later. Add sexual harassment to that, along with moves to replace you with cheaper contract workers to cut the hotel chain’s expenses.

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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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