Racist, sexist tech

What should be done about technology that discriminates?


  1. YouthSpark, a program launched by Microsoft to "empower young people through technology", published a series of portraits of young women who are "Changing the Face of Coding."
  2. Critics of the tech world say women of colour are most often underrepresented. Facebook’s black female headcount increased by just one person over 2013 to a total of 11 black women. And among Twitter's 49 black employees, 14 are women.
  3. Tech entrepreneur and former Twitter manager Laura Gomez founded Atipica, a software that prevents talented people from entering the "black hole" during tech recruitment.
  4. Other critics note that one of the key reasons so many diverse qualified candidates are left out of major tech companies is because of the importance placed on social media.
  5. Women of Colour in Tech write: "Facebook’s hiring practices are a case in point of where tech hiring remains flawed: they rely heavily on referrals, and mandate candidates have a Facebook account – imagine all the info! Pictures, data, friend groups all of these things trigger hundreds of biases."
  6. Diversity in the tech world may be one issue, but some people have been noticing others, particularly when the Internet discriminated through an algorithm. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon found Google showed ads for high-paying jobs 1,852 times to men but just 318 times to women.
  7. The Stream produced a video on the "World White Web", an initiative to stop whiteness from being the norm on the Internet. The project asks people of colour to publish photos of their hands online, in an effort to diversify the white hands that dominate Google searches.
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  9. Face detection software is also subject to racism. A Google photos error in late June shows a black woman and a black man being auto tagged as gorillas. The company responded by apologising and removing the gorillas tag from the app.
  10. The photo posted on Twitter also fired up a discussion between the social media community and Yonatan Zunger, the chief architect of social at Google. Below, Zunger says the error within the machine learning process is magnified because of the history of racism.
  11. The Apple Watch has also been criticized for potentially not being able to detect the heart rate of people with dark skin or tattoos.
  12. And in a video that went viral a few years ago with nearly three million views, two co-workers compare the differences between the way the video tracking device on a Hewlett Packard computer operates based on the darkness of one's skin.
  13. HP computers are racist
  14. We asked the Stream community if they have come across any examples of racist imagery on the Internet.