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News Posted on August 4, 2016

Professor Chander Comments on ‘Digital Discrimination' for New Scientist

Professor Anupam Chander commented for an article on "digital discrimination" published in New Scientist.  He notes that discrimination can be embedded within the data on which many popular digital services and apps rely. The resulting technology then becomes a mechanism for discrimination to amplify and spread, like a virus.

Professor Chander argues that designers should employ "algorithmic affirmative action" by paying attention to race as it appears in data and in algorithms and make corrections as needed to avoid discrimination.

"By pretending we're color-blind, we may in fact be still acting on a world that is clearly so skewed by racism or sexism and other prejudices, that we would be propagating that racist/sexist world," said Chander. "We need to teach computers about race so that they can recognize when they are unintentionally promoting racism."

Professor Chander, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, is a leading scholar of international economic law and cyberlaw. He is the author of The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World in Commerce, published in 2013 by Yale University Press. His scholarly papers can be accessed via his Social Science Research Network author page.