“Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society”
Interlocutor: V. Mitch McEwen
Thursday, November 5, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]
From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin explores a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity — what she terms the “New Jim Code.” This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight. She will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, Benjamin challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.
Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. For more info visit www.ruhabenjamin.com
V. Mitch McEwen is Assistant Professor in Architecture and Director of the Black Box research group at Princeton University.