Digital Platforms and Algorithmic Erasure: What are the Implications?
Keywords:racial discrimination, algorithmic bias, software, technology, erasure
As technology advances, people of colour often fall victim to algorithm racial bias. This paper focuses on the problem of digital tools that misidentify, fail to recognize, or erase people of colour. On a spectrum, these issues can range from the annoyance of making people of colour invisible during online meetings, to the endangerment of falsely identifying people of colour of crimes that they did not commit. We encountered the former challenge in September 2020, during a faculty Zoom meeting. Our Zoom erasure experience and subsequent Twitter crop experience raised questions for our investigation: why do people of colour experience erasure on zoom and other digital platforms? Is this problem new? What are the outcomes of our experience? How could the problem be fixed? How is it that biases in technology seem to emulate those found in social life? In this paper we aim to raise awareness through sharing our experience and recommending the interrogation of algorithmic tools released for market, the creation of government policy and laws to hold software companies accountable, and the education about biases for IT professionals, educators, and students in the field.
Copyright (c) 2022 Colin Madland, Maxwell Ofosuhene
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