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November 17, 2017
Algorithms Data governance Economic justice

Opening Panel: Data for Black Lives

Since the advent of computing, big data and algorithms have penetrated virtually every aspect of our social and economic lives. New data systems have tremendous potential to empower communities of color. Tools like statistical modeling, data visualization, and crowd-sourcing, in the right hands, are powerful instruments for fighting bias, building progressive movements, and promoting civic engagement.

But history tells a different story – one in which data is too often wielded as an instrument of oppression, reinforcing inequality and perpetuating injustice. Redlining was a data-driven enterprise that resulted in the systematic exclusion of Black communities from key financial services. More recent trends like predictive policing, risk-based sentencing, and predatory lending are troubling variations on the same theme. Today, discrimination is a high-tech enterprise. In this opening panel, we discuss the role that data and technology can and should play in Black communities.

Moderator:​​ ​Yeshimabeit​ ​Milner

Participants: Cathy​ ​O’Neil, Atyia​ ​Martin, Malika​ ​Saada​ ​Saar, Purvi​ ​Shah