Trump has a very bad weekend in his efforts to change the subject from COVID-19

President Donald J. Trump meets with reporters to announce that Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo Tia Dufour)

Donald Trump has been working hard to change the subject from the coronavirus pandemic, since his failure to control it is a major reason he is on track to lose on November 3. From that point of view, this was a very, very bad weekend for Trump. So bad.

First, five members of Mike Pence's staff tested positive, news that got out despite the White House's efforts to cover it up. Pence announced he would keep to his schedule because, get this, he's an essential worker. Pence is mostly campaigning these days, so that's the work being claimed as so essential he can't follow guidelines and quarantine after close contact with people who have COVID-19. Then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went on TV Sunday morning and said, "We're not going to control the pandemic."

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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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