Noble, Safiya U. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. NYU Press, 2018
In Algorithms of Oppression, author Safiya Umoja Noble investigates the real world impact and implications of race and gender bias built into the algorithms that control the information ecosystem online. Many of these seemingly neutral algorithms are anything but, and searching terms like “black girls” or “teacher clothes” reveal disturbingly racist and sexist associations and biases that the public tends to accept as “truth.”
Published in 2018, some of the specific examples Noble cites admittedly feel a bit out of date, but running a simple search for yourself confirms that many of the underlying structures persist to this day, even if some of the more flagrant examples of bias have been tweaked or removed altogether.
This book is a must-read for anyone who uses a search engine to find and access information, but especially for those who are interested in computer science or engineering!
Lydia Gentry is Borrowing Service Manager, William Tell Coleman Library (MIIS)