Category: Opinion

Review: ‘Coded Bias’

Indie Film Unpacks Bias in Algorithms

By C.J. Thompson

“Coded Bias” is a new independent documentary about the omnipresence of artificial intelligence — and the myriad ways the biases of its creators are baked into its performance. 

The film centers on Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidate Joy Buolamwini, 31, whose key epiphany occurs when she uses computer-vision software for a project — and it fails to identify her dark-complexioned face.

It engages, however, when she dons a white face mask.

The “Coded Bias” poster features an image of that soulless, synthetic white mask with brown eyes staring from behind it — and the film’s implications are equally haunting. 

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Review: ‘The Social Dilemma’

True Confessions But No Real Answers

By Kelvin Childs

“The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix documentary-drama by director Jeff Orlowski, shows the common ground that undergirds a society relentlessly being fractured with each “like,” tweet and click on social media.

Orlowski, 34, is behind such hit nature documentaries as “Chasing Ice” (2012) and “Chasing Coral” (2017).

In “Social,” Orlowski parades numerous former founders, executives and engineers from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Apple, Uber and Firefox as if they are at a confessional — sounding the alarm about the Frankenstein they all had a hand in creating.

Yet, they disingenuously declare that no one’s fingerprints in particular are on the weapons they claim were formed from their work.

Tellingly, “Social” has no current representatives of the companies speaking to how — or, whether — they’ve course-corrected.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears in news footage evading congressional questions on his company’s responsibility and asserting that it can set things right with its algorithms.

But these former insiders and some outside critics, in rebuttal to Zuckerberg, say it can’t be done.

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