Complete by: Thurs. 27 May
For class this week, you read part of Safiya Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression, which explores racism and bias in search algorithms. Noble provides lots of examples of the biased output of search algorithms; in this tutorial we’ll take a look at a (greatly simplified) version of a search algorithm.
Work through the Python code in this Google Colab notebook. You’ll also need to download the zipfile by going to: <jrladd.com/inauguralspeeches.zip>.
What does it mean for an algorithm to be biased? Is it only about the data that goes into it, or are there other ways algorithms can skew results? You might reflect on these questions, on the Noble reading, and on your own experiences with search algorithms in this week’s Canvas response.
n.b. The point of this assignment is not to learn how to program, so don’t worry if some of the code is inscrutable to you! We can’t go into detail on exactly how all parts of the scripts here do their work—instead the purpose of the workshop is to give you a better a sense of how code works so that you can think critically about the results you get. If at any point you feel lost, just reach out to me for help. And don’t forget the ground rules!