March 6, 2019 - Fellow Deloris Wilson Speaks About Emerging Technology & Communities of Color at Dorothy Vaughan Symposium on Capitol Hill

Our Fellow Deloris Wilson today gave opening remarks on Capitol Hill at the Dorothy Vaughan Tech Symposium organized by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

The symposium brought together leading experts to talk about the impact of emerging technologies on black women and other marginalized communities - in particular, the threat of “deep fakes”, computer-generated graphics that can be used to falsify images, audio and video, and can easily be deployed as weapons of harassment.

Moderated by Mutale Nkonde of Data & Society, the symposium’s panel discussion featured Dr. Safiya Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology & Social Change Project at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Brandeis Marshall, Former Department Chair and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Spelman College, and Dr. Mary Ann Franks, Legislative & Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

The speakers highlighted examples ranging from the use of fake social media accounts to suppress the African American vote by targeting supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, to the use of deep fakes in pornographic settings to devastate the lives of women, including women of color. Panelists noted that historically underrepresented groups can be targets for disinformation due to their perceived inability to “push back” against online harassment. They also noted how biases embedded in training data for algorithms, the underrepresentation of marginalized communities online, the systemic privilege embedded in search algorithms and other online systems perpetuate bias and inequality. Panelists also engaged on the need for stronger, national legal protections to address the problems of deep fakes, to protect women from harassment and avoid a patchwork of state solutions and jurisdictional fights.

Rep. Clarke spoke at the event and stayed for its duration, engaging in meaningful Q&A with the audience after formal remarks.

You can read Deloris’s full remarks here.