Here's the real danger lurking in Trump's world-historical tantrum

President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters outside the South Portico entrance of the White House Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, before boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Fayetteville, N.C. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Over the past week, Donald Trump has successfully sent a large chunk of the 78 million-plus Americans who voted for President-elect Joe Biden — the actual winner of the actual presidential election — into an emotional tailspin. Trump is still doing what the mainstream media gently describes as "refusing to concede", but is in fact better described as throwing the world's biggest and most childish tantrum, screaming "WE WILL WIN!" on Twitter and floating an endless stream of baseless conspiracy theories about the election.

Trump tantrums more than a roomful of tired toddlers, so this is no surprise. But what terrifies so many Biden voters — an astonishing number of people are complaining of panic attacks or lost sleep on social media — are the real moves Trump's team and many Republican politicians are taking that make this less like a typical tantrum and more like a genuine attempted coup.

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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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