The Color of Technology, featuring Dr. Ruha Benjamin (Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University), is the third event in a series of collaborative events between CEHV and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) on racial justice. Previous events in the series included The Color of Law and The Color of Health. The Color of Technology is also cosponsored by the Ohio State Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).
The conversation with Professor Benjamin will be moderated by Dr. Ayanna Howard (Dean of the College of Engineering, Ohio State University).
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. She will also consider how race itself is a tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, Ruha challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.
Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University who has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over fifteen years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice in the U.S. and globally. She is a Faculty Associate in the Center for Information Technology Policy, Program on History of Science, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Program on Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Department of Sociology. Additionally, she serves on the Executive Committees for the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and Center for Digital Humanities.
One of Benjamin’s books, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, examines the relationship between machine bias and systemic racism, analyzing specific cases of “discriminatory design” and offering tools for a socially-conscious approach to tech development. It was awarded Brooklyn Public Library’s 2020 Nonfiction Prize.
Ayanna Howard (event moderator) became Dean of the Ohio State College of Engineering on March 1, 2021. Before joining Ohio State, she was Chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing, as well as founder and director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAnS).
Her career spans higher education, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the private sector. Dr. Howard is the founder and president of the board of directors of Zyrobotics, a Georgia Tech spin-off company that develops mobile therapy and educational products for children with special needs. Zyrobotics products are based on Dr. Howard’s research.
Among many accolades, Forbes named Dr. Howard to its America's Top 50 Women In Tech list.
Register at go.osu.edu/coloroftechnology
If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or interpretation to participate in this event, please indicate this on the registration form or contact CEHV Associate Director Kate McFarland (firstname.lastname@example.org). Requests made 10 days prior to the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.