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Coded Bias (2020)Coded Bias (2020)

A few days before I watched this movie, the NYRB published a lengthy review of a book called When Machines Can Be Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Justice in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (2021) by Katherine Forrest. It's about how our criminal justice system uses computer-generated algorithms, and the biases that are inherent in so doing. That's just one of numerous similar examples given in the movie Coded Bias, which considers the inherent biases of race, class, and gender in things like facial recognition biometrics (which are now banned in several municipalities). Critics have observed how China now uses an AI-based "social credit score," but something similar already works here.  We are all "graded" for a broad array of risk-reward factors by computer algorithms in hiring and firing, performance evaluation, bank mortgages, predatory lending, housing, health insurance, building security, college applications, and on and on.  These algorithms, the movie shows, are not just biased.  They can also be abusive, inaccurate, and unregulated (with no court of appeal or redress). Coded Bias premiered at the 2020 Sundance festival, then was released on Netflix in April 2021.

Dan Clendenin:

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