Safiya Umoja Noble – Algorithms of Oppression

Tuesday 8th May 18.00 – 20.00
Federation House
Manchester
M4 4BF

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In her recent best-selling book 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 colour, specifically women of colour- and contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.

Safiya Umoja Noble

Dr. Safiya U. Noble is an assistant professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Communication. She is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award.

Noble’s academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology design. Her monograph on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines is entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press). She currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of two books: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online, and Emotions, Technology & Design and several articles and book chapters. Safiya holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno with an emphasis on African American/Ethnic Studies. She is a partner in Stratelligence, a firm that specializes in research on information and data science challenges, and is a co-founder of the Information Ethics & Equity Institute, which provides training for organizations committed to transforming their information management practices toward more just, and equitable outcomes.

Supported by MMU and The Federation in partnership with The Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation

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