AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)

Module 7: Coded Exposure


  • (45-60 min) Read the chapter (Note, this chapter is fairly long)
  • (15 min) Watch the short videos
  • (15-30 min) Discussion on slack
  • (5 min) grading declaration

Readings and Videos

Read Chapter 3 “Coded Exposure: Is Visibility a Trap” in the Race After Technology book.  While you read, pick out some favorite quotes to discuss.  There is a lot of great material in this chapter! 

Note, this chapter starts with the same Shirley cards that we discussed in the last module.  While we could have discussed this chapter during the last module on bias, it fits well here.  Really, the questions of bias and humanity overlap a lot!

I have 3 related movies that are discussed in the chapter linked below.

Gender Shades

I also would like you to watch the short movie about the Gender Shades project.  This is very related to the original movie we watch in week 2 but gives more details.  If you want to read the research and the paper and explore the dataset yourself, it is all available at the Gender Shades project website.

Better off Ted: Racial Sensitivity

This movie short scene from Better off Ted is referenced in the book about the absurdity of how companies try to fix their racial problems.  Please watch (it is short).


This is an excellent and thought provoking movie (and seems to be fully available on YouTube) but I’m just asking you to watch the trailer.  The movie is referenced in the chapter.


This discussion will happen in the #race-after-technology channel. Note, we are going to discuss both the chapter and videos in the channel. Remember to use threads so that we can keep track of the conversation more easily.

I put some quotes from the chapter below to get you thinking about what you learned from this chapter.  Some of these quotes are provocative and would make good discussion material!  Please share your thoughts about what you learned, pick a favorite quote (or several, as I did!) from the chapter and let’s discuss.  

  • “I think my Blackness is interfering with the computers ability to follow me.” (page 97, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “‘Racial sensitivity’ … is a commentary on the company’s insensitivity and on the absurdity of its fixes.  The writers seem to be telling us that more, not less, sensitivity is the solution to the technological and institutional dilemma of coded inequality.” (page 98, Chapter 3, Race After Technology) [Note, this refers to the short movie clip referenced above)
  • “The photographic industry did not fully take notice until the companies that manufactured brown products like chocolate and wooden furniture began complaining that photographs did not depict their goods with enough subtlety, showcasing the variants of chocolate and of grains in wood.” (page 104, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “The popular trop that technology is always one step ahead of society is not only misleading but incorrect, when viewed through the lens of enduring invisibility.” (page 107, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “In examining the complex coding of racial desire and derision, Poole’s insights remind us that domination and surveillance typically go hand in hang with ‘the pleasure of looking.'” (page 109, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “… when we attempted to make an African-inspired avatar that looked like him, it ‘was automatically made less intelligent.'” (page 110, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “The fact that we may all, ultimately, be able to access the tools of eugenic selection does not make such processes less eugenic.  It just means the intertwining projects of racism and ableism are all-encompassing.” (page 115, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  •  “`I belong to a new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the color of your skin.  No, we have discrimination down to a science.'” (quote from Gattaca, page 117, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “In that way, the Movement for Black Lives is implicitly an anti-eugenics movement.” (page 118, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “Even before the algorithmic predictions we have today, predictive guilt has been a cornerstone of police work. … Forensic DNA phenotyping, in turn, gives officers license to suspect anyone who fits the generic description of the image. … That is, when the bias is routed through technoscience and coded ‘scientific’ and ‘objective,’ a key feature of the New Jim Code, it becomes even more difficult to challenge it and to hold individuals and institutions accountable.” (page 121-122, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)
  • “In this way, the New Jim Code gives rise to digital untouchables.” (page 132, Chapter 3, Race After Technology)


  • OU students: After you have done your reading and engaged actively in discussion, complete the grading declaration titled “Module 7: Coded Exposure”