Blog Post #8

I will say that the in-class video of Cathy O’Neil made the readings of Kieran Healy and Safiya Noble make much more sense. It was also great to see Safiya Noble’s video and accompanying her verbal articulation with the one that I read. From what I have gathered “big data” is the reliance, creation, and control over Algorithms. Algorithms are just past data and a definition of success. The best example that I can think of on my own is an algorithm in selecting a menu for a restaurant. If you use past data- those being past recipes or order receipts and then create a definition of success such as “using items that were most successful. Then Bam! Watch the algorithm work and your menu get created. The issue with that though is that it does not take into current trends, what if avocados are out and bananas are in? Or if the unicorn trend turns into the dragon trend? It also warrants they’re may not be vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free or nut-free options and that is an issue because a restaurant without some diversity is a no-no in this day and age.

The scholar’s readings and review of their topics in class talk about this type of algorithm set up on a greater scale. Instead of a restaurant menu, it’s a police radar algorithm causing more blacks to get arrested and jailed or an algorithm further assisting in progressing a sexist work environment. There are countless issues on relying on big data and algorithms. The main reason for that is because they are all based on the past. Algorithms merge past data with future ideologies of a “success”. This does not help if the past data is racist, sexist and overall closed minded then what change does that create? It doesn’t; it just forms a more reliable means of oppression. This digital redlining is more like a bright red flag and it is definitely the next the current civil rights issue of the 21st century! It may have been created to improve conditions but so was the cotton gin and that did not improve anything- it just made conditions worse.

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