Blog post 8: Technology and inequality

Write a 3-5 paragraph reflection on Ruha Benjamin’s lecture, “Data for Black Lives”, and Sarah Brayne’s article, “Relying on Algorithms can Further Bias and Inequality”. Your reflection should answer the following questions:

  • Benjamin says “We don’t find data, we produce it” and “Imagination and data production go hand-in-hand”. What does she mean by this, and how does her “Just Data Toolkit” encourage us to produce better data?
  • According to Benjamin and/or Brayne, when it comes to addressing problems like racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality, how do modern technologies like algorithms and metadata pose unique challenges?
  • What is an example that you can think of (from the news, from your own life, from another class, etc.) of technology shaping and/or being shaped by societal biases and inequality? How do Benjamin’s and Brayne’s arguments speak to that example?
  • Benjamin and Brayne show why the creators of any digital project should be mindful of the risks of perpetuating discrimination. Think about your project for this class. Where are there potential opportunities to encode inequality? (This does not have to be about racism or sexism–just take a few sentences to consider potential implicit bias in your project.)

To earn full credit on this assignment, your reflection must answer all of the above questions in enough detail to demonstrate a close, careful consideration of the lecture and the reading. The writing does not need to be formal or polished, but it should be clear.