Exploring Bias & Technology: A Tri-Campus Discussion

UW Bothell Information Technology is pleased to welcome Coded Bias director, Shalini Kantayya, to a virtual panel with UW experts about the intersection of technology, equity, justice, bias and discrimination. We’ll take a closer look at the human factor of technology: the humans that build it and the humans that are impacted by it. How do we remain mindful of the benefits and consequences of our use of and dependency on technology?

Watch the film!

This event is made possible by a Diversity Seed Grant from UW’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and UW’s Diversity Council.

About the event

The virtual panel discussion was held on May 10 from 12pm – 1pm.

Discussion Panelists

Shalini Kantayya, Director of Coded Bias

Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya’s Coded Bias, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She directed for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, Executive Produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in June 2017. Her debut, Catching the Sun, premiered at the LA Film Festival and was named a NY Times Critic’s Pick. Catching the Sun released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with Executive Producer Leonardo Di Caprio, and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award of the Best Documentary. Kantayya is a TED Fellow, a William J. Fullbright Scholar, and an Associate of the UC Berkley Graduate School of Journalism.

Anna Lauren Hoffmann, Assistant Professor at the iSchool

Anna Lauren Hoffmann’s work centers on issues in information, data, and ethics, with particular attention to the ways in which discourses, design, and uses of information technology can promote or hinder the pursuit of important human values like respect and justice. She examines how the standards and categories imposed on the world through data, information, and technological systems (or the ways we talk about them) can discriminate by supporting the development of self-respect for some and hindering its development for others.

Rebekah Skiver Thompson, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer

Rebekah Skiver Thompson is the Associate Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the University of Washington. Becky has over 20 years of experience in information technology at the UW. She started her career as a student employee, worked in several positions of increasing responsibility, and served for the past eight years in key leadership roles within the Office of the CISO. Skiver Thompson has a Master’s degree in Psychology and enjoys applying what she knows about human behavior to the work her team does with cyber intelligence.

Tanu Mitra, Assistant Professor at the iSchool

Tanu Mitra’s research focuses on studying and building large-scale social computing systems to understand and counter problematic information online. Her research spans auditing online systems for misinformation and conspiratorial content, unraveling narratives of online extremism and hate, and building technology to foster critical thinking online. Her work employs a range of interdisciplinary methods from the fields of human computer interaction, machine learning, and natural language processing. Her research has been recognized through multiple awards and honors, including an NSF-CRII, Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award and Foley Scholarship for excellence in research innovation and potential impact. Dr. Mitra received her PhD in Computer Science from Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing.

Ashley Magpali, UW-IT Intern

Ashley Magpali is an undergraduate student studying Psychology and Sociology at the University of Washington Seattle campus. She currently works for the Organizational Development team at UW Information Technology as a student intern, in hopes of pursuing a future career related to industrial-organizational psychology. Magpali is interested in applying her social science background towards exploring human interactions with technology, exploring mental health impacts at both the individual and societal level.

Cara VanDyke, UWB-IT Technical Project Manager

Cara VanDyke is a Technical Project Manager at UW Bothell Information Technology. She holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Systems from the UW Michael G. Foster School of Business which informs her understanding of how technology can support and improve business processes. VanDyke also holds a Certificate in Data Science, which aided her previous work building and implementing the digital environments that enabled data scientists to build algorithmic solutions. While at the University of Washington, she became a founding member of the UW-IT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice where she helps her colleagues explore and tackle equity issues.

Film: Coded Bias

When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. This film marks her journey and that of other civil rights advocates to push for legislation to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all.

The film Coded Bias is a “fascinating study of how even the seemingly impartial world of tech is subject to embedded racism & privilege.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Watch the film

The film is available through the UW Libraries. Watch the movie Coded Bias now

You can also view the film through the following streaming services: