The New Jim Code: Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin presents the concept of the “New Jim Code” to explore a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight. Ruha will also consider how race itself is a tool designed to naturalize social hierarchies and, in doing so, she challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

Learning Materials

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Speaker Details

Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab and author of two books, People’s Science and Race After Technology, which was awarded Brooklyn Public Library’s 2020 Nonfiction Prize. She’s also the editor of Captivating Technology. She’s currently working on her fourth book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want. She speaks widely about the relationship between innovation, inequity, knowledge and power, race and citizenship, health and justice. For more info, visit www.ruhabenjamin.com

Date:
Speakers:
Dr. Ruha Benjamin
Affiliation:
Professor of African American studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab

Series: Race and Technology: A Research Lecture Series