Rate your PC on fire: Awaken in technology inequality

   From Siri to the QWERTY keyboard, inequality has been embedded in the technology we increasingly rely on. A new book, Your Computer on Fire, is a call to recognize technology problems - and fix them.
   TECHNOLOGY is so attached to our lives that we can sometimes forget that it is there. Your computer on fire is an important reminder not only of its presence but also that we need to urgently fix the problems related to it.


   The book challenges us to rethink radically how we can solve many problems, from algorithmic bias to climate change. They are added to a collection of essays, each highlighting problems in our relationship with technology and suggesting ways to fix them.
   For example, to solve problems with race and gender bias in algorithms, Mar Hicks at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, says we have to realize that these are profound characteristics of the technology. on which we are based, not mere fault. These failures are not simply accidents, Hicks writes, but they characterize how the system is designed to function and without significant outside intervention, they will continue to function. How it works? "
   Safiya Umoja Noble at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the consequences of an algorithmic deviation could be very serious, such as in the case of facial recognition software mistakenly flagging an innocent person as a crime or crime. they do not commit crimes. But it is not too late, she writes: “We have a remarkable opportunity to transform consciousness built into artificial intelligence and robotics, as it is in fact the product of their own collective creation. . I".
   Your burning computer offers many examples of how our technology is often developed and designed to work for a select few, despite many across the globe. Halcyon Lawrence at Towson University in Maryland writes that for those who speak "non-standard accents" - including herself, an English-speaking Caribbean speaker - "virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa are unresponsive and annoy".Thomas Mullaney at Stanford University, California, writes: Even something as basic as a QWERTY keyboard is designed based on the English language, with complex transitions reinforced over time to suit those Speaks languages   like Arabic and Chinese.
   As Janet Abbate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg argues: In addition to supporting programs that introduce more young people from diverse backgrounds to programming, big tech companies need to do more. to increase diversity in your facilities, especially at the highest levels.
   The collection also explains its central metaphor more literally, with Nathan Ensmenger at Indiana University in Bloomington arguing that we need to take into account the physical impact of our current use of technology. are inflicted on the planet. His chapter, "The cloud is a factory," begins with the realization that cloud computing is "profound physics", requiring large amounts of energy, resources, and labor.
   This topic was picked up by Benjamin Peters at Tulsa University, Oklahoma when he wrote: “The globe is on fire, and very few people with common language call it out. This book calls for that language ... The challenge of anyone living in our broken world is not to be delayed until one day when the needs of more people are needed than one day. . perks of the few here and now. "
Your computer is on fire as it asks more questions than answers, but all of them will be crucial in challenging the world to make our technology better and fairer.