Years of Progress Going Down the Drain with Trump's Neanderthal Approach to Crime and Immigration

Back in early 2015 it looked as though America might be on the verge of a rare moment in recent times, when leaders of both parties might come together to pass an important bipartisan reform. Over several years both right and left had reached a consensus that the draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s had been overzealous and counterproductive. Politicians on both sides of the aisle were actually working together to eliminate many such sentences on the federal level, especially after data gathered in states like Texas and Georgia made clear that doing so could save governments money and reduce crime rates.

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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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