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How is it possible that a ‘smart’ soap dispenser does not recognize a black man’s hand? Why are predictive policing outcomes often pre-determined against minorities groups? Coded Matter(s): Big Bias is an evening program with talks and a closing lecture-performance that introduces audiences to the data-driven processes and automated technologies that are radically changing our world. There is a widely held belief that the machines we use are neutral. But the data they learn with is often fake, incomplete or exclusionary. Rather than giving us new affordances of accessibility and connectivity the problems around fake news, predictive policing and racist twitter bots show that technology also amplifies, rather than rectifies, the inequalities that exist in our society.
These ‘smart’ technologies are already embedded within the interaction designs of internet platforms and commercial products and are quickly changing our systems of governance, policing and public services. Big Bias explores what role artists, designers, researchers and companies play in addressing these ethical issues. The first announced speakers are artist/queer-theorist Zach Blas (UK) and artist, coder and writer Mimi Onuoha (US), whose works are aimed at critically investigating and changing these developments.