March 25, 2019 - Institute Hosts Event on Algorithmic Bias & the Digital Divide

On Monday, the Tech Institute hosted a panel event on Algorithmic Exclusion: How Data Deserts in the U.S. Perpetuate Inequity. The event drew an important connection between the lack of connectivity for marginalized communities in rural and low income areas, and increasing concerns about bias in the algorithms that impact so many aspects of our lives.

Lack of connectivity hurts students trying to do their homework, jobseekers looking for work, and communities engaging in online discourse. But what about its impact on the fairness & equity of AI?

The digital divide dramatically exacerbates inequity in our society: nearly half of all people in the U.S. without home internet access are people of color. Six in 10 rural residents say high speed internet access is a problem in their area.

At a time when algorithms shape every facet of our lives—from how government resources are allocated, to the products and information you see online—disparities in online access risk perpetuating exclusion for communities of color, low-income communities and rural America.

Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) gave remarks at the event, emphasizing that bridging the digital divide should be a issue of national priority. The panelists included a mix of consumer advocates, industry representatives and data scientists.

Thanks to our partners Public Knowledge and The Goodfriend Group for collaborating with us on this event. You can view the video and full details at www.georgetowntech.org/datadeserts.