Meredith Broussard and Alondra Nelson: Bias Is More than a Glitch

Mon. Mar 20, 2023 6:30pm - 7:30pm EDT
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The data journalist and NYU professor discusses confronting race, gender, and ability biases in tech.

In-person registration for this event has sold out. A limited number of standby tickets will be available on the night of the event.

The word glitch implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren't just bugs in mostly functional machinery—what if they're coded into the system itself? In her new book, Meredith Broussard demonstrates how neutrality in tech is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable. A data scientist and one of the few Black female researchers in artificial intelligence, Broussard explores facial recognition technology that favors light skin, mortgage-approval algorithms that encourage discriminatory lending, and the dangers of medical diagnostic algorithms trained on insufficiently diverse data. 

In conversation with Alondra Nelson, Broussard discusses More than a Glitch and solutions that aren’t about making tech more inclusive, but rather rooting out the algorithms that target certain demographics as “other” to begin with. 

To join the event in-person | Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register! If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.


Meredith Broussard headshot © Devin CurryMeredith Broussard is Associate Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and Research Director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology. She is the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World (MIT Press). Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, BBC, Wired, The Economist, and more. She appears in the 2020 documentary Coded Bias and serves on the advisory board for the Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies. More information at @merbroussard or

Alondra Nelson headshot © Dan KomodaAlondra Nelson is the Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. A former deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, she served as acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Including her in the list of "Ten People Who Shaped Science in 2022," Nature said of Nelson's OSTP tenure, “this social scientist made strides for equity, integrity and open access.” An acclaimed researcher, Nelson is the author of several books, including The Social Life of DNA. Her essays, reviews, and commentary have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Wired, and Science. Nelson is a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the National Academy of Medicine.


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. A visual navigation guide is available here.

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.


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This program is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Meredith Broussard © Devin Curry
Alondra Nelson © Dan Komoda

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Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), 7th Floor Event Center 455 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016