How America is still failing health care workers battling the pandemic

Staff Sgt. Gisele Adanlete-Engram, 161st Medical Squadron aerospace medical technician, puts on personal protection equipment before entering a COVID-19 hot zone at an alternate care facility on the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Ariz., June 1, 2020. Arizona National Guard service members are assisting the Public Health Service while caring for COVID-19 patients by providing security and other non-medical tasks as needed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin)

American Red Cross workers travel from one community to another conducting the blood drives that save countless lives in emergency departments and operating rooms.

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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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