Algorithms run our lives just like society runs our lives. Many people never stop to think how much society’s rules and ideals have changed the way we think and act, and are ingrained into our way of life. I think algorithms can work the same way. We never stop to think about the ingrained stereotypes that are present in our daily lives.
Snapchat is a very popular app in my generation, and a lot of people enjoy using the filters that are offered. But I notice, and \when I point it out to people, they notice it too, that the filters try to make your skin lighter. Your eye color lighter. And they feed into this type of white supremacist ideal that hasn’t really disappeared from our lives. It’s just changed its shape a bit. The belief that lighter skin and lighter eyes make you more beautiful is disguised in everything we see that we don’t even notice that we feed into that belief as well. It’s in magazines, ads, and the businesses know that they can take advantage of the fact that people don’t question this fact anymore. It’s quite sad really, when I see it and still feed into it. It’s because when you grow up in an environment that fosters a way of thinking, it’s not like when you’re older you can just turn it off. Things don’t work like that. Impressions and influences don’t just turn off like that. And it’s quite scary I think.
Unfortunately, this same thing is related to Joy Buolamwini’s finding to the face recognition system that she was experimenting with at the MIT Media Lab. The program just wouldn’t register her face. It would register everyone’s , who had skin lighter than her, but not hers. This ingrained thing , I don’t even have the right word for it, leaves us at a loss. Because like I said, it’s hard to question and change your way of thinking when the society you live deems it okay and even something to be celebrated in some aspects.
The people who make things like snapchat or the algorithms in facial recognition systems I have to guess might be predominantly white. We live in a predominantly white society and usually the 1%ers and the politicians in our society are predominantly white as well. This ultimately affects and has affected how our society functions when it comes to academia and progress.