By Nicol Turner-Lee, Darrell M. West
Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and 5G wireless networks are developing new capabilities with surprising impacts on our lives. COVID-19 has also amplified the importance of being online for everyone who needs connectivity for health care, education, employment, and commerce. The Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) at Brookings, in partnership with our friends at Lawfare, is excited to introduce TechTank—a new podcast exploring these and other current topics in technology. In a series of roundtable discussions and one-on-one with technology experts and policymakers, moderators Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West will unpack tech policy debates and highlight new data, ideas, and policy solutions.
Our inaugural episode focuses on racial bias in technology, which will add to the recent equity dialogues following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black male, by the Minneapolis police and the nationwide protests that ensued. Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings senior fellow and director of the Center for Technology Innovation, moderates a conversation with Brookings scholars Rashawn Ray, a David M. Rubenstein fellow, and Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a visiting fellow in Governance Studies.
This episode will also dig into a series of questions on racial bias in technology. Can access to technology dismantle opportunity barriers for people of color? Are racial biases baked into machine learning algorithms and at what points do they influence the predictions? Can technologies ever be democratic and fair in their execution, reducing the amount of discrimination experienced by African Americans and other people of color? Nicol, Rashawn, and Tom also discuss the role of big tech companies in deliberately addressing these biases—especially in algorithms deployed in employment, housing, and criminal justice settings, and what policymakers can do to minimize racial discrimination in tech.
You can listen to the first episode and subscribe to the TechTank podcast here. Future episodes will explore the automation and the future of work, the role of technology in election interference, disinformation campaigns, school reopening and broadband access, the digital divide and more.
About the Center for Technology Innovation
Founded in 2010, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings is dedicated to enhancing understanding of technology’s legal, economic, social, and governance ramifications, and informing the public debate on technology innovation in the U.S. and around the world. Our expert scholars, whose areas of focus range from privacy to antitrust to artificial intelligence, deliver evidence-based research and analysis to help policymakers, academia, industry, and civil society leaders draw conclusions about current and emerging technologies. Be sure to sign up for the bi-weekly TechTank newsletter to stay up to date on the latest research and analysis from the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings.