What does the White House do when one of their own dies from COVID-19? Lie, of course

President Donald J. Trump salutes as participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Thursday, June 25, 2020, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

Thousands of lives have been lost as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, yet our government and its officials still refuse to acknowledge the severity of this pandemic. As of this report, data compiled by The New York Times has found that more than 4 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 and 143,700 have died. Among them have been some who once called the virus a “hoax,” the families of these individuals, and others who have experienced the loss of loved ones as a result of COVID-19. They are sharing their stories to shed light on the horrific reality of this pandemic and the importance of following health recommendations.

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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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