Join the upcoming CMCI One College Colloquium for a deep dive into the hidden world of algorithms—including how they reflect, and impact, our society.
On Feb. 17, the College of Media, Communication and Information is hosting its next colloquium, titled Racialized Algorithms—A Conversation with Meredith Broussard. The free, virtual event will feature Bryan Semaan, associate professor of information science, Shamika Klassen, PhD student in information science, and special guest, Meredith Broussard. Broussard is an associate professor at New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.
The speakers will discuss their experiences with technology and racism in their daily lives in order to increase awareness and understanding of a topic that is unfamiliar to many: algorithms. The conversation will tackle pertinent questions about the racialization of algorithms such as “How does something like an algorithm come to have a bias?” and “How can algorithms perpetuate racism and stereotyping?”
“There’s a nice metaphor for society in this event. When we talk about race and social systems in general, there are very strong senses of both power and vulnerability. These are both normalized, but are invisible to some populations and highly visible to others, such as Black, indigenous and persons of color,” Semaan said. “Algorithms are very much both visible and invisible as well. They are acting in the background to shape our daily experiences, but a lot of people don’t know that they’re there or how they work. Yet, for others, they are mediating their everyday experiences in deleterious ways such as in what they see online to what jobs or opportunities they can obtain.”
The CMCI One College Colloquium series is one of several ways in which the college seeks to foster and support interdisciplinary engagement and a vibrant intellectual community of artists, humanities scholars, social scientists and designers within the college, across the campus and beyond the university.
Past colloquia have focused on environmental communication and immigration. This year’s colloquia bring an interdisciplinary focus on the many ways that media, communication and information relate to racial justice.