Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Computer scientist explains 'Dangers of the Coded Gaze'

Watch a video of Joy Buolamwini discussing her work.

As a master’s student at MIT, Joy Buolamwini discovered that her own face read as male in many facial-analysis software systems — if her face was detected at all. And, no, it was not a personal slight; it turns out that many darker-skinned women of color also read as male. If you were what Buolamwini terms a “pale male,” though, most systems could categorize you with a high rate of accuracy. 

Buolamwini, a computer scientist and digital activist, went on to found the Algorithmic Justice League, raising awareness to the problem of any company refusing to acknowledge bias in its facial-recognition software. She recently spoke at Emory as part of the Provost Lecture Series, which is designed to inspire the Emory community to think about big questions and collaborate on innovative solutions.

As Deboleena Roy, chair of Emory’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and faculty in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, said in introducing Buolamwini, “Rather than sit back and see the creation of new technologies that work to reinforce dominant and discriminatory gender and racial norms, she instead is using her expertise as a scientist to envision a more socially just technological future. Applying her awareness of gender and race issues, she has dedicated her research and her career to creating more inclusive code and more inclusive coding practices.”

Click here to read more about Buolamwini's Emory talk, entitled "Dangers of the Coded Gaze."

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