CODED BIAS – Review by Jennifer Merin

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We human beings are at a critical turning point in our politics, economics and social behavior, one that challenges our self-determined way of life, our opportunities for equality, justice and sustainability. Individual accomplishments in all of these arenas of human society are increasingly determined by technology — by programmed algorithms that gather and distribute data about us to government agencies, marketing interests, universities and corporate personnel departments — whether we like it or not, whether we agree with the methodology and process or not, whether it’s actually accurate or not.

In Coded Bias, filmmaker Shalini Kantayya reveals the pervasive extent to which our lives are influenced by a rather small group of highly skilled technocrats and coding pundits. There is little to no general knowledge about who they are and about how they operate — but there is plenty of evidence that the overwhelming majority of them are white and male. And, there is absolutely no regulation about how rapidly developing and ever expanding code that they write is used to influence human behavior and determine privilege. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

EDITOR’S NOTE: Coded Bias is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for November 13, 2020

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).