Can Technology Reduce Racial Inequality? Build for Black Lives Could Help.

• from Karina Hathaway

By

The killing of George Floyd inspired the students to reflect on the enduring racial inequalities in their communities, and how they could combat injustice through technology.

“We realized as a club we wanted to take a very set stance and leverage our community that we have to start working toward making for a more equitable community, especially in tech,” says Neogi.

Through this work, the students are also hoping to shine a light on problems within the world of artificial intelligence and facial recognition. Examples of machines discriminating in ways that are harmful to anyone who isn’t a white man are well-documented. Neogi and Ahmed-Syed say one way to solve these issues is to include diverse viewpoints in the development of products.

“A lot of software communities and people doing the testing from the beginning to the end of a product’s life may not be thinking about aspects of race, ethnicity, and identity, because they’ve never had pressures from that,” Neogi says.

At the same time, she says, technology can enable people to create online communities, share information and resources, and break down barriers.