CAT/SP – News n. 22 – Excluding Technology: when machines discriminate against us

A quick exercise shows that technology is not only infallible, it can be sexist.

If we look for the word CEO in Google Images, we will not find any woman until the seventeenth photo and only five in the top 50 results. It is not the only proof of the misogynist of the popular search engine. A Carnegie Mellon University study finds that Google shows many more men than to women as well-paid executive jobs. Technological discrimination also encompasses race, religion or sexual orientation.

Why machines, inanimate and insensitive, also reject and marginalize?

Enric Puig Punyet, a philosopher and promoter of the Internet Institute association, regrets that discrimination against the old world has escaped the new tools, but also that there are new ways to exclude. Some of them are those that emanate from the algorithms: “Before discrimination could be detected. The algorithm problem is its mystery aura. We hide the ideological burden of the bottom. ” That algorithms marginalize us is not a minor issue. Our daily lives depend on decisions taken by machines. They determine which route we will take, what people we will know about the linkage, and even if they will grant us a credit or we will accept an insurer. “It is important to ensure that decisions will be taken without bias that go against human rights,” says the director of the Unesco Chair in Data Privacy at the URV, Josep Domingo Ferrer.

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