An interview with Dr. Safiya Noble

— The following is an excerpt from The Caret’s interview with Dr. Noble.

In 2018, UCLA Information Studies professor Safiya Noble published her best-selling book “Algorithms of Oppression,” exposing how search engines, specifically Google, perpetuate discrimination and racism. As a result, the search engine companies paid lip service to cleaning up their acts and indeed, two years later, some thing have gotten better. (For instance, when you Google “black girls,” you are no longer served up a page of pornographic and sexually explicit websites). But as Noble points out, there’s still a long way to go. And at a time when we rely on search engines more than ever for news and information, the stakes are critically high. Below, a discussion on the state of algorithmic bias in general, Google’s transgressions in particular, and how we can help guard against a future where technology works in the service of existing prejudices and escalates social injustice (read the full interview).

Machine learning presents itself to be fair and impartial. It is not.