More than a Glitch
Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech
240 pp., 6 x 9 in, 9 b&w illus.
- Published: March 14, 2023
When technology reinforces inequality, it's not just a glitch—it's a signal that we need to redesign our systems to create a more equitable world.
The word “glitch” implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren't just bugs in mostly functional machinery—they're coded into the system itself? In More Than a Glitch, Meredith Broussard demonstrates how technological neutrality is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable.
Broussard, a data scientist who has worked in journalism and software development, masterfully synthesizes concepts from computer science and sociology alongside her own experience as one of the few Black female researchers in artificial intelligence. Citing examples such as sensors trained only to recognize lighter skin tones and the dangerous feedback loops that arise when predictive policing and medical diagnostic algorithms are fed on discriminatory data, she illuminates how technologies designed to boost convenience are also prone to perpetuating bias. Even with good intentions, fallible humans develop programs that can inflict devastating consequences when ineptitude tips into oppression.
Broussard argues that the solution isn't to make omnipresent tech more inclusive, but to root out the frameworks that target certain demographics as “other” to begin with. With sweeping implications for disciplines ranging from jurisprudence to medicine, the simultaneously pathbreaking and practical insights of More Than a Glitch are essential reading for anyone invested in building a more equitable future.