Tired of Waiting for the Courts, Students Get Their Own Measure of Justice for Freddie Gray

JAISAL NOOR, REPORTER: A year after Freddie Gray was killed at the hands of Baltimore police, his life, and the upheaval caused by death continues to be felt across Baltimore. The national spotlight focused on BaltimoreÂ’S apartheid-like inequity, a justice system that is often stacked against the cityÂ’s black majority and a police force many say operates with impunity. But one year later, the cityÂ’s youth question if anything has changed.

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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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