Students are confused about how to evaluate online information. We all are. The COR curriculum provides free lessons and assessments that help you teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world.
Gender Shades is a preliminary excavation of the inadvertent negligence that will cripple the age of automation and further exacerbate inequality if left to fester. The deeper we dig, the more remnants of bias we will find in our technology. We cannot afford to look away this time, because the stakes are simply too high. We risk losing the gains made with the civil rights movement and women's movement under the false assumption of machine neutrality. Automated systems are not inherently neutral. They reflect the priorities, preferences, and prejudices—the coded gaze—of those who have the power to mold artificial intelligence.
Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment
Algorithms are all around us, using massive stores of data and complex analytics to make decisions with often significant impacts on humans – from choosing the content people see on social media to judging whether a person is a good credit risk or job candidate. Pew Research Center released several reports in 2018 that explored the role and meaning of algorithms in people’s lives today. Here are some of the key themes that emerged from that research.
Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja NobleA revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms Run a Google search for "black girls"--what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance--operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond--understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.
Call Number: ZA4230 .N63 2018
Publication Date: 2018-02-20
The Black Box Society by Frank PasqualeEvery day, corporations are connecting the dots about our personal behavior--silently scrutinizing clues left behind by our work habits and Internet use. But who connects the dots about what firms are doing with all this information? Frank Pasquale exposes how powerful interests abuse secrecy for profit and explains ways to rein them in.
Call Number: e-book
Publication Date: 2015-01-05
Technically Wrong by Sara Wachter-Boettcher; Andrea Emmes (Narrated by)Buying groceries, tracking our health, finding a date: whatever we want to do, odds are that we can now do it online. But few of us ask how all these digital products are designed, or why. It's time we change that. Many of the services we rely on are full of oversights, biases, and downright ethical nightmares. Chatbots that harass women. Signup forms that fail anyone who's not straight. Social media sites that send peppy messages about dead relatives. Algorithms that put more black people behind bars.Technically Wrong takes an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that lead to these problems and more. Wachter-Boettcher demystifies the tech industry, leaving those of us on the other side of the screen better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use-and demand more from the companies behind them.
Call Number: Downloadable Audiobook
Publication Date: 2017-10-10
Artificial Unintelligence by Meredith BroussardA guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right. In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally--hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners--that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. With this book, she offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology--and issues a warning that we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism--the belief that technology is always the solution--Broussard argues that it's just not true that social problems would inevitably retreat before a digitally enabled Utopia. To prove her point, she undertakes a series of adventures in computer programming. She goes for an alarming ride in a driverless car, concluding "the cyborg future is not coming any time soon"; uses artificial intelligence to investigate why students can't pass standardized tests; deploys machine learning to predict which passengers survived the Titanic disaster; and attempts to repair the U.S. campaign finance system by building AI software. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.
Call Number: e-book
Publication Date: 2018-04-20
Hello World by Hannah FryShortlisted for the 2018 Royal Society Investment Science Book Prize A look inside the algorithms that are shaping our lives and the dilemmas they bring with them. If you were accused of a crime, who would you rather decide your sentence--a mathematically consistent algorithm incapable of empathy or a compassionate human judge prone to bias and error? What if you want to buy a driverless car and must choose between one programmed to save as many lives as possible and another that prioritizes the lives of its own passengers? And would you agree to share your family's full medical history if you were told that it would help researchers find a cure for cancer? These are just some of the dilemmas that we are beginning to face as we approach the age of the algorithm, when it feels as if the machines reign supreme. Already, these lines of code are telling us what to watch, where to go, whom to date, and even whom to send to jail. But as we rely on algorithms to automate big, important decisions--in crime, justice, healthcare, transportation, and money--they raise questions about what we want our world to look like. What matters most: Helping doctors with diagnosis or preserving privacy? Protecting victims of crime or preventing innocent people being falsely accused? Hello World takes us on a tour through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us on a daily basis. Mathematician Hannah Fry reveals their inner workings, showing us how algorithms are written and implemented, and demonstrates the ways in which human bias can literally be written into the code. By weaving in relatable, real world stories with accessible explanations of the underlying mathematics that power algorithms, Hello World helps us to determine their power, expose their limitations, and examine whether they really are improvement on the human systems they replace.
Call Number: T14.5 .F788 2018
Publication Date: 2018-09-18
Automating Inequality by Virginia EubanksA powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination--and how technology affects civil and human rights and economic equity The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years--because a new computer system interprets any mistake as "failure to cooperate." In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect. Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems--rather than humans--control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor. InAutomating Inequality,Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. The U.S. has always used its most cutting-edge science and technology to contain, investigate, discipline and punish the destitute. Like the county poorhouse and scientific charity before them, digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhumane choices: which families get food and which starve, who has housing and who remains homeless, and which families are broken up by the state. In the process, they weaken democracy and betray our most cherished national values. This deeply researched and passionate book could not be more timely.
Call Number: HC79.P6 E89 2018
Publication Date: 2018-01-23
Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'NeilA former Wall Street giant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life-- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives--where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance--are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a "toxic cocktail for democracy." Welcome to the dark side of Big Data. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.