Coded Bias

“When MIT researcher, poet and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini (@jovialjoy) uncovers racial and gender bias in AI systems sold by big tech companies, she embarks on a journey alongside pioneering women sounding the alarm about the dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence that impacts us all. Through Joy’s transformation from scientist to steadfast advocate and the stories of everyday people experiencing technical harms, Coded Bias sheds light on the threats A.I. poses to civil rights and democracy.”

I had the opportunity to see Shalini Kantayya‘s (@shalinikantayya) film Coded Bias last fall as part of a screening for a group of work colleagues. You may recall the film “The Social Dilemma” that was the topic of conversation last year? ECOO had hoped to arrange a showing of Coded Bias at the time to complement the discussion that was taking place, but the broader distribution/release of the film was still being finalized.  Shortly thereafter, in December, there was also the story in the media regarding Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru), formerly of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team, and the circumstances under which she had recently left the company. Timnit was a researcher who contributed to the making of this film.

As it would turn out, the Coded Bias will be receiving wide release starting tomorrow, Monday, April 5th, via Netflix — and so we wanted to bring everyone’s attention to the fact in the hopes that ECOO members and Ontario Educators will take the opportunity to view the film and consider the implications.

With the increasing adoption of AI in so many areas from basic web search results to movie recommendations to news stories and social media views — the importance in understanding the potential for intentional or unintentional bias in AI is paramount. Coded Bias raises this issue head on, and provides an awakening experience into how we need to shape the adoption of these technologies to support everyone fairly and equitably.

Coded Bias is available on Netflix starting Monday, April 5th.