Trump’s former homeland security adviser warns that coronavirus could become a 'fire out of control'

Image via Screengrab.

According to data from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, the coronavirus epidemic had killed at least 4,088 people worldwide as of Tuesday morning, March 10 — including over 3,000 in Mainland China, 463 in Italy, 291 in Iran, 54 in South Korea and 23 in the United States. Health officials fear that the situation in the U.S. could become much worse. And in an op-ed for the Washington Post, Tom Bossert (who served as a homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018) warns that the U.S. needs to take very aggressive steps to make sure that coronavirus doesn’t get out of control.

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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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