Is the Impossible Burger a threat to vegetarianism?

The Impossible Burger
The Impossible Burger

Fake meats have been a foodstuff for decades now, mostly so that a lot of popular, meat-based dishes could be adapted into vegetarian recipes. But it's only been quite recently that, thanks to the soaring popularity of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, that there's a real chance of these fake meats actually replicating the taste and feel of genuine, harvested-from-a-once-breathing-and-feeling creature meat. Now a day hardly passes in which there isn't some kind of news item about these just-like-the-real thing ground beef substitutes, which are popping up in fast food chains and slightly fancier pubs where one expects to find that good old American staple, the hamburger, on the menu.

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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.

What you can do:
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