S1E9: Algorithms that do harm

For better or worse, we live in a time where algorithms rule the world. But what happens when algorithms do harm? This has been a concern for about a decade. Articles and books have been written to sound the alarm about the harms we will see if we jump with both feet into automating AI processes (see Emily M. Bender’s blog post for plenty of links). 

What are some historical examples, and can anything be done about it? Further, does the fact that women are still leaving the tech field mean we are losing important diverse minds that could help think through the impact of when algorithms do harm?

Join us as we talk to the OGTA (OG Tech Aunty) Marian Newsome. 

Show notes for Algorithms that do harm

  • Introductions: Meet the OG Tech Aunty – throw back to being a woman in tech in the 80s!
  • Why do women leave the field of engineering, and why hasn’t that culture changed?
  • Health scares and career choices.
  • State of security field today.
  • Algorithms from FORTRAN to today.
  • Algorithms have been going wrong because humans write the code.
  • How data is gathered to profile individuals with algorithms?
  • Do algorithms do harm, or do the people pulling the data do harm?
  • Who owns your personal data? Do you understand what you’re opting into?
  • Health data and bias.
  • Law enforcement, digital personal data collection, bias
  • Reinforcing old biases, continued with digitized data lakes
  • You have to think about the “off-label uses” of an AI product, for example Ring lawsuits
  • Have ceded data to institutions, and that seems normal to us now. Will it always be that way?
  • How has the toxicity of the tech industry changed over the years?


This week’s guest: Marian Newsome

Marian Newsome is an esteemed technology professional boasting over 15 years of experience spanning Security, Product Marketing, Compliance, Organizational Transformation and Portfolio Management. Marian excels in roles that enable her to bridge various disciplines, allowing her to effectively contribute to business growth and sustainable success.

Her profound understanding of the tech sector and strategic acumen has solidified her reputation as a respected thought leader in her field.

Marian is also a published author. Her incisive article on ‘Privacy and the Failing Dot.com Era’ has gained significant recognition, being cited in the prestigious Virginia and Houston Law Reviews.

Marian is an enthusiastic advocate for inclusivity, tirelessly supporting the rights and recognition of women and neurodiverse individuals within the tech industry. She has committed herself to cultivate increased awareness in tech for underrepresented communities, frequently lending her voice at events and actively participating in initiatives that aim to encourage diversity and develop talent in the tech sector.

You can connect with Marian on LinkedIn and Twitter.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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