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Short Film: "How machines discriminate - facial recognition and the matrix of domination"

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Landecker Fellow Nushin Yazdani recently published a short film with Jose Rojas entitled “How machines discriminate – facial recognition and the matrix of domination.” The piece delves into the intricacies of facial recognition technology and the tangible consequences this artificial intelligence has on different identity groups.

The film opens with examples of how facial recognition software negatively impacts people of color. The film references several studies that show how facial recognition reinforces racist structures; for example, in the United States, a Black individual is two times as likely to be wrongly identified as a repeat offender than a white individual.

From there, the video explores how facial recognition systems determine an individual’s gender based on an individual’s appearance but the technologies are outdated and reinforce the gender binary. In reality, many individuals are categorized incorrectly.

Finally, the film references Patricia Hill Collins’s work on the matrix of domination, applying the theory to facial recognition technology. In short, Black women experience a unique and compounded form of discrimination affecting both their racial and gender identities.

You can watch the full film here.

Nushin is one of thirty Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows. This fellowship, a collaboration between the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, was created to strengthen a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges can become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. Read more about the fellowship here.