Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Coded Bias’

Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Coded Bias’

Behaviour is taught…even when it’s not even realized…

Coded Bias doesn’t really highlight anything in the world of social and political manipulation by corporations and governments that we don’t already know about but it does serve as a cold reminder that on occasion, just maybe technology ISN’T our friend.

Coded Bias explores the fallout of MIT media lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all.

The issues around facial recognition and the huge leaps that we see in technology without proper vetting or even saying out loud “Should we even use this?” is really at the heart of Coded Bias.

While director Shalini Kantayya focuses a lot of the film on the racist overtones that end up coming out of these algorithms the film also lets the subjects illustrate that so many of these new technologies are being abused at not only government but consumer levels with absolutely no regulation.

The film tends to skew a little unevenly at times between its subjects and their overall motivations but it never loses focus of the fact that in the modern world where people are craving comfort and safety, the technology that CAN provide them that is also being used against the,

Ultimately, Coded Bias brings up all the right issues that we need to be aware of going forward in dealing with technologies like this and does wave the flag that we all collectively need to be waving for regulation in these matters, it just felt like it needed to be doing it with a little more urgency.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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