News and Events

Current Events

Fridays, September 13 – December 6, 2019
STS Lunch Seminar Series

Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room | 12:00-1:15 pm
More information and speaker lineup >

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
A New Jim Code? Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life

Ruha Benjamin (Princeton University)
ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Center | Reception 4:30, Lecture 5:00-6:00 pm
Sponsors: STS, Diversity Fund, Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism and Diaspora, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, Department of Computer Science, and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Dr. Ruha Benjamin presents the concept of the "New Jim Code" to explore a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. We will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.
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Learn more about the events listed above >