January book display: The Dark Side of Technology

Jan 10, 2020 · Erin Thomas

Modern technology makes our lives easier and more connected, but it has a darker side, too. Typing questions into Google to see what autosuggest recommends can be a fun game, but it can also reveal ugly truths about our society. Your phone can predict what you’re going to type next, helpfully offering up likely words for your convenience. But what about when your device suggests you really meant to type something racist?

Consciously or not, we build our biases into all our systems and gadgets. Racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and more are baked right in to the technology we surround ourselves with every day.

Throughout the month of January, Parks Library will be highlighting books on this issue in the book display From Algorithms to Trolls: How Technology Brings Out the Worst in Us, located in the library lobby. The books in this display explore some of the ways today’s technologies are designed, built, and used to enable hate and discrimination.

Those who are interested in learning more about the ways modern technology empowers hate—and what we can do about it—are encouraged to check out books from the display. A full list of books in the display, plus a selection of related e-books, is available through the book display’s website.