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View other events for the week of 5/14/2018
How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor
Date Monday May 14
Time 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/AuthorGreen Arcade
Emailpatrick [at]
Location Details
The Green Arcade
1680 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. A conversation will follow between the author and Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of Coalition on Homelessness, facilitated by Leslie Dreyer of the Housing Rights Committee which co-sponsors the event.

Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems—rather than humans—control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.

Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is also the author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements.

As the Coalition on Homelessness actively organizes folks to stop Mayor Farrell's sweeps on our homeless neighbors in SF, a city privileging tech elite and real estate speculators while sporting the highest inequality gap in the nation, this reading and conversation couldn't be more timely.

Eubanks' books is a deeply researched exploration of how new integrated databases, predictive models, and policy algorithms target poor and working-class people across the United States.

The book tells three stories about new high-tech tools in public services: an attempt to automate all the eligibility decisions for TANF, Medicaid and food stamps in Indiana in 2006; an electronic registry of the unhoused in Los Angeles; and a statistical model intended to predict which children might be victims of abuse and neglect in Allegheny County, PA. Eubanks tells these stories from the point of view of those most affected: poor and working-class families across the country and across the color line, who fearlessly shared their stories and lives with her over three years of investigative reporting.

Added to the calendar on Monday May 7th, 2018 4:45 PM
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