Mozilla Festival 2021 (March 8th – 19th, 2021)

Having uncomfortable conversations
2021-03-11, 15:45–16:45, Zoom Room 3B

Issues of bias, discrimination, and power asymmetries between the silicon valley and the next billion have become more prominent on the technology agenda. While some argue biased technologies are oversights by those who design them, accidental mistakes which can be mitigated by increasing awareness, auditing for bias and diversifying the technology workforce.

Whilst such efforts are important, they will not solve the systematic oppression of black, brown and marginalized communities. Racial discrimination is entrenched in society, enduring as a feature of the social fabric invisible to the tech community where at times we ‘can’t put our finger on it’.

In this session we propose for uncomfortable conversations to disrupt the uncomfortable silences of the discriminatory effects of tech. We propose an open discussion between the tech and the anti-discrimination communities as a primary strategy to building collaborative resistance against the intrinsic data harm potentially hardwired into the tech

How will you deal with varying numbers of participants in your session?

We have to think about the format that allows for difficult conversations, that is either a max in total number that can contribute, as good moderation is important in these discussion, or have a panel format where people can write comments and questions

What is the goal and/or outcome of your session?

Continue the discussion between the anti discrimination movement and tech community. Where the later can learn from the anti-discrimination movement understanding that biased technologies as the result of the white dominated structures and discourses that are perpetuating the oppression and regulation of the 'other', and argue for the need to situate discrimination in the lived experiences of those who are systematically oppressed.

We're hoping that many efforts and discussions will continue after Mozfest. Share any ideas you already have for how to continue the work from your session.

This is part of a longer process of conversation to build bridges the digital rights / tech community and the anti discrimination movements in Europe

Fieke is a researcher and practitioner on issues related to technology, autonomy, power, and human rights. She is a Mozilla fellow and a PhD candidate at the Data Justice Lab.

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