Women: Watch Out for This Ominous Sign on Your Dinner Date

In January, at the tail end of a storm of accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men in Hollywood, Babe.net published an account by “Grace,” a woman who went on a date with actor and comedian Aziz Ansari and later described it as the "worst date of her life." Many critics of the article derided one detail in the article that must have seemed important enough to the writer to include: "After arriving at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday evening, they exchanged small talk and drank wine. 'It was white,' she said. 'I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.'”

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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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