More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

By Meredith Broussard

"Broussard argues that the structural inequalities reproduced in algorithmic systems are no glitch. They are part of the system design. This book shows how everyday technologies embody racist, sexist, and ableist ideas; how they produce discriminatory and harmful outcomes; and how this can be challenged and changed.


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Book Information

Publisher: MIT Press
Publish Date: 03/14/2023
Pages: 248
ISBN-13: 9780262047654
ISBN-10: 0262047659
Language: English

What We're Saying

March 29, 2023

Building nonsexist, antiracist technology requires a different mindset and requires wrestling with complex social issues while also solving thorny technical challenges. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

When technology reinforces inequality, it's not just a glitch--it's a signal that we need to redesign our systems to create a more equitable world. The word "glitch" implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren't just bugs in mostly functional machinery--what if they're coded into the system itself? In the vein of heavy hitters such as Safiya Umoja Noble, Cathy O'Neil, and Ruha Benjamin, Meredith Broussard demonstrates in More Than a Glitch how neutrality in tech is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable. Broussard, a data scientist and one of the few Black female researchers in artificial intelligence, masterfully synthesizes concepts from computer science and sociology. She explores a range of examples: from facial recognition technology trained only to recognize lighter skin tones, to mortgage-approval algorithms that encourage discriminatory lending, to the dangerous feedback loops that arise when medical diagnostic algorithms are trained on insufficiently diverse data. Even when such technologies are designed with good intentions, Broussard shows, fallible humans develop programs that can result in devastating consequences. Broussard argues that the solution isn't to make omnipresent tech more inclusive, but to root out the algorithms that target certain demographics as "other" to begin with. With sweeping implications for fields ranging from jurisprudence to medicine, the ground-breaking insights of More Than a Glitch are essential reading for anyone invested in building a more equitable future.

About the Author

Meredith Broussard is Associate Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and Research Director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology.

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