We often call on technology to help solve problems. But when society defines, frames, and represents people of color as “the problem,” those solutions often do more harm than good. We’ve designed facial recognition technologies that target criminal suspects on the basis of skin color. We’ve trained automated risk profiling systems that disproportionately identify Latinx people as illegal immigrants. We’ve devised credit scoring algorithms that disproportionately identify black people as risks and prevent them from buying homes, getting loans, or finding jobs.
So the question we have to confront is whether we will continue to design and deploy tools that serve the interests of racism and white supremacy.
The roots of profiling and discrimination by algorithms go back a long way, almost as long as we’ve had commercial computer systems.