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Ruha Benjamin is an associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University. Last week, she spoke at Spelman College’s series "The Future is Intersectional: Black Women Interrogating Technology.” Here are the 3 main takeaways:
Racism is constructive, it constructs
Race and technology shape each other
Imagination is a field of action
Benjamin has called out discriminatory design that enables policies governing public life. Instead of investigating the socioeconomic and political constructs that treat us as “the customer and not the people”, we are given short-term fixes. Technology has not only been touched by this ineffective design strategy, it automates it. Silicon Valley and Hollywood are leading the narratives on the future of technology. However, women like Benjamin are nurturing the society we have already created through writing books like Race After Technology and speaking up.
Benjamin is not the only woman leading this fight. Shalini Kantayya developed the film, Coded Bias to explore MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately. Buolamwini is also the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League that develops research reflecting on the priorities, preferences, and prejudices or “the coded gaze” possessed by those with the power to mold artificial intelligence.
These voices are needed to influence how we are going to use technologies such as AI consumer products. You may not feel aligned with what is traditionally perceived as a STEM leader. However, this means your voice is needed now more than ever. Karl Weierstrass, a German mathematician, is quoted “A mathematician that is not somewhat of a poet will never be a perfect mathematician.” Buolamwini displays this in her piece “AI, Ain’t I A Woman.”
Women are also leading the way by breaking down barriers to entry. Dr. Sarah Kaiser is an experimental quantum physicist and mentor. She shares knowledge to grow skills and abilities in quantum computing and open source development through the Women in Quantum Computing and Applications Meetup group writing books such as Learn Quantum Computing with Python and Q# and by streaming on Twitch.
More people need to be included in imagining the future as the line between the digital and physical world continues to blur. This will not come without re-examining our past.
This program will offer awards up to $20K each to help provide impactful solutions to a chronic problem.
Fashion Nova believes in women and they have the money to back it up.
Visa said “She’s Next” with grants for $10K and a one-year IFundWomen Annual Coaching Membership.
MBDA Business Center Program
Department of Commerce announced a grant program.
START with a virtual training program for those just getting started with their entrepreneurial journey.
Courses & Events
Receive $200 in savings when you register for both EmTech Digital and EmTech Next conferences using this link.
DFINITY presented “Exploring Entrepreneurship in the Open Internet Boom.”
Join SOCAP Global and partners for Shift 2021, April 14-16, an exciting new digital event from some of the most passionate organizations and thought leaders in the positive impact space.
Go to the Beginner Python Tutorial: Analyze Your Personal Netflix Data here.
One key trick to becoming a wizard developer here.
The Algorithmic Justice League is hiring a Director of Development.
Get coins with the "Central Bank Of Memes Challenge” bounty.
Clock into the Metaverse with Decentral Games, get paid by becoming a $DG host.
Founders Get Funds was inspired by communities built from Black women’s ingenuity. TheTagan became inspired by entrepreneurship’s ability to build communities while working with a savings club, L’Entente Feminine, in Dakar, Senegal. In the 1970s, police officers in the neighborhood Sicap-Liberté went on strike resulting in mass unemployment. After receiving no funds from the state, the women in the Liberté 5 community came together. They knew that unity is strength and invested in the baptismal funds of the Association L’Entente Féminine des Sicap pour le Développement du Sénégal.
TheTagan saw women grow from a couple items of inventory to owning their own shop. However, they still lacked the resources needed to hire employees. She wanted to raise money for them by creating content telling their stories and sharing to social media. However, there was no clear route to raise U.S. dollars in Senegal. Additionally, the women did not have bank accounts to collect the funds. Her efforts were stunted, and she left feeling like she wasted an opportunity to empower others. Yet, she became empowered herself by entrepreneurship’s ability to grow communities.
Also, on this trip, she stood face to face with the historical realities that led to generations of trauma around the globe. This video documented her experience at Gorée Island’s door of no return:
Senegal is a country known for teraanga or hospitality. Lately, headlines surrounding the country have deterred from this culture as the Senegalese people scream #FreeSenegal. The protests began after the arrest of Ousmane Sonko, Senegal’s leading opposition to President Macky Sall. The peaceful protest may have been triggered in response to Sonko’s PASTEF party but they are fueled by rampant youth unemployment, growing inequality, corruption scandals, compounded by repressive measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the people have been silenced and cut off from information by restrictions on access to social media and shutting down several private television and radio stations. Anonymous provided helpful tips for anyone with issues accessing their internet. Additionally, social media tools Clubhouse, Instagram and Twitter have kept the global world alert.
When media, identity politics and a global culture collide it takes people to lead the culture that needs to be created. Today, the media and the people are more intertwined than ever thanks to technological innovations blurring the digital and physical world. As a result, NFTs are the new political cartoons. This will be propelled through emerging products like Dakar Gallery from DK Labs.
Dakar is a social impact NFT project laser-focused on delivering a dynamic UX/UI experience for rare digital art collectibles that are coupled with 3D printable art; you own and can be printed out at your leisure. In addition, Dakar mission is to be the first non-DeFi company to move toward fully autonomous community.
The case of Senegal is one pure example that the culture of money lead by the culture of media will be shifted by technology. How will you impact this lever governing our lives?
20s Convos with Wolé and Tobi
In this podcast, two 20-somethings share stories on building a community while journaling their lives. This episode, “Strong Black Woman” discusses how the attitude and body of the Black woman is constantly caricatured by stereotypes on a global scale. | Listen
Latesha Byrd, a Certified Career Coach, recently launched the Career Chasers podcast to discuss topics at the intersection of career empowerment, leadership development and diversity, equity & inclusion. Have you ever been at the table as a woman of color, only to be dismissed, talked over and not even be able to speak up? Find community in in the episode, “Black and Brown Women in the Workplace” that shares experiences and statistics on the challenges women faces when chasing opportunities. Listen
Disruption Now is a podcast hosted by Rob Richardson, a resolute leader in labor law, civil rights, labor and management relations, marketing, branding and public service. In this episode, “Roland Martin: The Future of Black Media” shares how he kept his vision for building a national media company after others didn’t realize the potential. | Listen
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