The Mathematics and Statistics Department Presents a Special Seminar, "Algorithms of Oppression: A conversation with Safiya U. Nobel"

Abstract: In 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 color, specifically women of color.  You can find further details at https://nyupress.org/9781479837243/algorithms-of-oppression/

 

Biography:  Dr. Noble is an internet studies scholar and Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she serves as the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She holds affiliations in the School of Education & Information Studies, and is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford where she is a Commissioner on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance (OxCAIGG)

In 2021, she was recognized as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (also known as the “Genius Award”) for her ground-breaking work on algorithmic discrimination, which prompted her founding of a non-profit, Equity Engine, to accelerate investment in companies, education, and networks driven by women of color. She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-reviewed in scholarly and popular publications. She is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. In 2022, she was recognized as the inaugural NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award recipient. 

Her academic research focuses on the internet and its impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, power, and technology. She is regularly sought out for her expertise on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias by national and international press including The Guardian, the BBC, CNN InternationalUSA TodayWired, Time, Full Frontal with Samantha BeeThe New York Times, and a host of network news and podcasts. Her popular writing includes critiques on the loss of public goods to Big Tech companies, as featured in Noema magazine

Host: Debashis Mondal, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics