Noble, S. U. (2018). Introduction: The Power of Algorithms. In Algorithms of oppression: how search engines reinforce racism (Summary)

Noble’s book discusses how oppressive decisions are reinforced via algorithms. Since algorithms are programmed by developers, this shows a huge issue. Through multiple case studies, Noble shows that there are clear issues when it comes to what pages show up in searches related to race and gender. I think this text is an important wake-up call to programmers, and people who use search engines since we are also in a way responsible for how they have been developed. I can recall many times where I talked with researchers who used google to find sources, and didn’t realize they already have a personal algorithm set within their account if they are signed in. Even though I have been trained in how to use search engines, I still run into weird stuff and I am constantly reassessing my searches.  Noble even says this in the introduction, that her book is already obsolete once it goes to print. The systems are ever-changing.

This work is important because this is a system that is already in place and causing harm. According to Noble, the architecture of technology was built on racism and sexism, and this issue requires immediate fixing. I absolutely agree. As a researcher, it is disturbing to have gone through so many search engines without this knowledge. Most of my literature came from doing searches in library search engines and online, and so many voices may have been omitted from my searches unintentionally.

Noble, S. U. (2018). Introduction: The Power of Algorithms. In Algorithms of oppression: how search engines reinforce racism. New York: New York University Press.


Published by Nikki M

Applied Anthropologist and Digital Dance Specialist

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