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Data Violence: Dignity and Bias in Big Data

From site: Arcus Center

Data Violence: Dignity and Vulnerability Beyond Algorithmic Discrimination A Presentation by Dr. Anna Lauren Hoffmann

Date: Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Time: 5:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours

map of Data Violence: Dignity and Bias in Big Data
Location:

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

205 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Contact: Jax Gardner, 269-337-7332

Data Violence: Dignity and Vulnerability Beyond Algorithmic Discrimination  
A Presentation by Dr. Anna Lauren Hoffmann

The advent of “big data” presents new challenges for social justice. In particular, problems of bias in the data-driven systems that sort, evaluate, and rank people online often compound or further entrench problems of injustice faced by vulnerable or marginalized populations. Moreover, attempts to address these problems too often appeal to limited notions of “blind” (e.g., colorblind, gender-blind) fairness and antidiscrimination that fail to account for important differences in the social and political vulnerabilities of both individuals and groups.

In this talk, Dr. Hoffmann positions the normative assumptions made by automated and algorithmic systems as a kind of discursive violence—dubbed data violence—that becomes visible through conflicts with our own moral self-perceptions, identities, and beliefs. She argues that the violence inherent to these systems works to deprive certain people of what political philosopher John Rawls called “the social bases of self-respect.” Finally, she concludes by discussing some of the productive possibilities of a discursive shift away from "accidents" and "edge cases" and towards one that centers questions of violence and vulnerability.

Anna Lauren Hoffmann is an Assistant Professor with The Information School at the University of Washington. Her research is situated at the intersections of data, technology, culture, and ethics, with particular attention to the ways in which the design and use of information technology can promote or hinder the pursuit of important human values like respect and justice. Her work has appeared in various scholarly journals like New Media & Society, The Library Quarterly, First Monday, and JASIST. Her writing has also appeared in popular outlets, including The Guardian, Slate, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. You can find out more at annaeveryday.com or follow her on Twitter at @anneveryday.

Dinner will be served.  Please rsvp to acsjl@kzoo.edu for a dinner ticket. 

This event is presented in partnership with the Kalamazoo College Department of Computer Science and the Kalamazoo College Library.