Mike Pence enjoys extended ski vacation in Vail as pandemic deaths soar

Photo via Gage Skidmore.

The United States is facing still-rising pandemic deaths and both a federal government shutdown and the end of supplemental unemployment checks to those newly out of work, but Donald Trump is, of course, currently on vacation. You may be wondering where the ostensible head of the White House coronavirus "task force" has gotten to, since we haven't heard much from him either.

Alleged vice president Mike Pence is in Vail, Colorado. We're in the middle of a nationwide crisis and the guy "in charge" of it is takin' an extended family ski trip. One you're not supposed to know about, apparently.

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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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