Big Picture Session | The World we Build: Equitable Technology

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October 28, 2020
12:00pm — 1:30pm

Hosted by Cynthia Breazeal

Today's society is characterized by inequity, meaning that groups of people defined by identities such as race, gender, class, language, and national origin often experience undesirable outcomes. Statistics show that some identity groups, such as non-white racial groups in the United States, consistently experience harm in areas such as housing, health, and employment because of long term patterns of discrimination by institutions and individuals. 

Technology creates a tension in the search for equity. Some technologies, such as mobile phones and low-cost transportation options, promise to increase benefits to all identity groups. At the same time, technology is often part of systems that increase discrimination along race, gender, or class lines.

This session features four conversations between Media Lab researchers and guest speakers who are pursuing research that expands the opportunity for design and technology to contribute to greater equity. 

These conversations highlight four main topics:

Dr. Katlyn Turner (Space Enabled) with Prof. Sharese King (Univ. of Chicago) on the relationship between dialect and prejudice and its broad consequence from law to employment.

Prof. Ekene Ijeoma (Poetic Justice) with Danielle Wood (Space Enabled) on antiracism, design, and technology to advance research and design practice with equity as a core value across the Media Lab.

Prof. Cynthia Breazeal (Personal Robots) with Dr. Kate Darling (Personal Robots) on the challenges and opportunities that accompany designing and integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into society with respect to inclusive design, AI literacy education, algorithmic bias, ethics, and policy.

Dr. David Kong (Community Biotechnology Initiative) with Dr. Susan Blumenthal (Rear Admiral, M.D., M.P.A.) on democratizing biotechnology, improving equity and access through global community building events, and designing more equitable healthcare technologies and systems.

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