Racist Technology in Action: Slower internet service for the same price in U.S. lower income areas with fewer White residents

Investigative reporting by The Markup showed how U.S. internet providers offer wildly different internet speeds for the same monthly fee. The neighbourhoods with the worst deals had lower median incomes and were very often the least White.

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Belastingdienst blijft wet overtreden met mogelijk discriminerende fraude-algoritmen

Na het toeslagenschandaal kreeg de Belastingdienst het advies om drie mogelijk discriminerende fraude-algoritmen onmiddellijk stop te zetten. Toch besloot de fiscus ermee door te gaan: het organisatiebelang woog zwaarder dan naleving van de wet en bescherming van grondrechten. Dat blijkt uit documenten die twee jaar nadat om openbaring was verzocht aan Follow the Money zijn vrijgegeven. ‘Onbegrijpelijk en verbijsterend.’

By David Davidson and Sebastiaan Brommersma for Follow the Money on December 14, 2023

Not a solution: Meta’s new AI system to contain discriminatory ads

Meta has deployed a new AI system on Facebook and Instagram to fix its algorithmic bias problem for housing ads in the US. But it’s probably more band-aid than AI fairness solution. Gaps in Meta’s compliance report make it difficult to verify if the system is working as intended, which may preview what’s to come from Big Tech compliance reporting in the EU.

By John Albert for AlgorithmWatch on November 17, 2023

AI is nog lang geen wondermiddel – zeker niet in het ziekenhuis

Tumoren ontdekken, nieuwe medicijnen ontwikkelen – beloftes genoeg over wat kunstmatige intelligentie kan betekenen voor de medische wereld. Maar voordat je zulk belangrijk werk kunt overlaten aan technologie, moet je precies snappen hoe die werkt. En zover zijn we nog lang niet.

By Maurits Martijn for De Correspondent on November 6, 2023

Al Jazeera asks: Can AI eliminate human bias or does it perpetuate it?

In its online series of digital dilemmas, Al Jazeera takes a look at AI in relation to social inequities. Loyal readers of this newsletter will recognise many of the examples they touch on, like how Stable Diffusion exacerbates and amplifies racial and gender disparities or the Dutch childcare benefits scandal.

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Technologie raakt sommige groepen mensen in onze samenleving harder dan anderen (en dat zou niet zo mogen zijn)

Bij het gebruik van technologie worden onze maatschappelijke problemen gereflecteerd en soms verergerd. Die maatschappelijke problemen kennen een lange geschiedenis van oneerlijke machtsstructuren, racisme, seksisme en andere vormen van discriminatie. Wij zien het als onze taak om die oneerlijke structuren te herkennen en ons daartegen te verzetten.

By Evely Austin, Ilja Schurink and Nadia Benaissa for Bits of Freedom on September 12, 2023

Dubieus algoritme van de politie ‘voorspelt’ wie in de toekomst geweld zal plegen

De politie voorspelt al sinds 2015 met een algoritme wie er in de toekomst geweld zal plegen. Van Marokkaanse en Antilliaanse Nederlanders werd die kans vanwege hun achtergrond groter geschat. Dat gebeurt nu volgens de politie niet meer, maar daarmee zijn de gevaren van het model niet opgelost. ‘Aan dit algoritme zitten enorme risico’s.’

By David Davidson and Marc Schuilenburg for Follow the Money on August 23, 2023

Dutch police used algorithm to predict violent behaviour without any safeguards

For many years the Dutch police has used a risk modeling algorithm to predict the chance that an individual suspect will commit a violent crime. Follow the Money exposed the total lack of a moral, legal, and statistical justification for its use, and now the police has stopped using the system.

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Racist Technology in Action: The World Bank’s Poverty Targeting Algorithms Deprives People of Social Security

A system funded by the World Bank to assess who is most in need of support, is reported to not only be faulty but also discriminatory and depriving many of their right to social security. In a recent report titled “Automated Neglect: How The World Bank’s Push to Allocate Cash Assistance Using Algorithms Threatens Rights” Human Rights Watch outlines how specifically the system used in Joran should be abandoned.

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Women of colour are leading the charge against racist AI

In this Dutch-language piece for De Groene Amsterdammer, Marieke Rotman offers an accessible introduction of the main voices, both internationally and in the Netherlands, tirelessly fighting against racism and discrimination in AI-systems. Not coincidentally, most of the people doing this labour are women of colour. The piece guides you through their impressive work and leading perspectives on the dynamics of racism and technology.

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Racist Technology in Action: How Pokéman Go inherited existing racial inequities

When Aura Bogado was playing Pokémon Go in a much Whiter neighbourhood than the one where she lived, she noticed how many more PokéStops were suddenly available. She then crowdsourced locations of these stops and found out, with the Urban Institute think tank, that there were on average 55 PokéStops in majority White neighbourhoods and 19 in neighbourhoods that were majority Black.

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On Race, AI, and Representation Or, Why Democracy Now Needs To Redo Its June 1 Segment

On June 1, Democracy Now featured a roundtable discussion hosted by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, with three experts on Artificial Intelligence (AI), about their views on AI in the world. They included Yoshua Bengio, a computer scientist at the Université de Montréal, long considered a “godfather of AI,” Tawana Petty, an organiser and Director of Policy at the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), and Max Tegmark, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recently, the Future of Life Institute, of which Tegmark is president, issued an open letter “on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.” Bengio is a signatory on the letter (as is Elon Musk). The AJL has been around since 2016, and has (along with other organisations) been calling for a public interrogation of racialised surveillance technology, the use of police robots, and other ways in which AI can be directly responsible for bodily harm and even death.

By Yasmin Nair for Yasmin Nair on June 3, 2023

GPT detectors are biased against non-native English writers

The rapid adoption of generative language models has brought about substantial advancements in digital communication, while simultaneously raising concerns regarding the potential misuse of AI-generated content. Although numerous detection methods have been proposed to differentiate between AI and human-generated content, the fairness and robustness of these detectors remain underexplored. In this study, we evaluate the performance of several widely-used GPT detectors using writing samples from native and non-native English writers. Our findings reveal that these detectors consistently misclassify non-native English writing samples as AI-generated, whereas native writing samples are accurately identified. Furthermore, we demonstrate that simple prompting strategies can not only mitigate this bias but also effectively bypass GPT detectors, suggesting that GPT detectors may unintentionally penalize writers with constrained linguistic expressions. Our results call for a broader conversation about the ethical implications of deploying ChatGPT content detectors and caution against their use in evaluative or educational settings, particularly when they may inadvertently penalize or exclude non-native English speakers from the global discourse.

By Eric Wu, James Zou, Mert Yuksekgonul, Weixin Liang and Yining Mao for arXiv.org on April 18, 2023

Mean Images

An artist considers a new form of machinic representation: the statistical rendering of large datasets, indexed to the probable rather than the real of photography; to the uncanny composite rather than the abstraction of the graph.

By Hito Steyerl for New Left Review on April 28, 2023

Ethnic Profiling

Whistleblower reveals Netherlands’ use of secret and potentially illegal algorithm to score visa applicants.

By Ariadne Papagapitos, Carola Houtekamer, Crofton Black, Daniel Howden, Gabriel Geiger, Klaas van Dijken, Merijn Rengers and Nalinee Maleeyakul for Lighthouse Reports on April 24, 2023

‘Pas op met deze visumaanvraag’, waarschuwt het algoritme dat discriminatie in de hand werkt. Het ministerie negeert kritiek

Visumbeleid: De papiermolen rond visumaanvragen detacheert Buitenlandse Zaken zo veel mogelijk naar buitenlandse bedrijven. Maar het risico op ongelijke behandeling door profilering van aanvragers blijft bestaan. Kritiek daarover van de interne privacy-toezichthouder, werd door het ministerie in de wind geslagen.

By Carola Houtekamer, Merijn Rengers and Nalinee Maleeyakul for NRC on April 23, 2023

De zwarte doos van algoritmes: hoe discriminatie wordt geautomatiseerd

Evelyn dook deze week in de (allesbehalve mannelijke) wereld van glitch art, hebben we het over het algoritme dat jarenlang door de Gemeente Rotterdam is gebruikt om te voorspellen wie van de bijstandsgerechtigden zou kunnen knoeien met hun uitkering en bellen we in met podcast-kopstuk Lieven Heeremans.

By Evely Austin, Inge Wannet, Joran van Apeldoorn, Lieven Heeremans and Nadia Benaissa for Bits of Freedom on April 15, 2023

Racist Technology in Action: You look similar to someone we didn’t like → Dutch visa denied

Ignoring earlier Dutch failures in automated decision making, and ignoring advice from its own experts, the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to cut costs and cut corners through implementing a discriminatory profiling system to process visa applications.

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Racist Technology in Action: Racial disparities in the scoring system used for housing allocation in L.A.

In another investigation by The Markup, significant racial disparities were found in the assessment system used by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the body responsible for coordinating homelessness services in Los Angeles. This assessment system is reliant on a tool, called the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritisation Decision Assistance Tool, or VI-SPDAT, to score and assess whether people can qualify for subsidised permanent housing.

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