Director Shalini Kantayya’s new documentary “Coded Bias” examines how AI technologies such as facial recognition are increasingly becoming instruments of racial domination and state repression, especially in China and the United States. The film features Joy Buolamwini, an MIT researcher whose work underscores the way that facial recognition algorithms tend to misidentify black and brown faces at a much higher rate than white ones. “One thing I did want to bring up related to China and data collection is this data colonialism that we are starting to see,” says Buolamwini during our interview at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film recently premiered. “We have reports of Chinese companies going to African nations providing facial recognition or surveillance technologies in exchange for something very precious: the biometric data of the citizens.” The filmmaker Shalini Kantayya adds that China also uses this technology on its own citizens through the social credit system, and draws parallels to similar trends in the United States.
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