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WKAR Special Events

Bias in the Algorithm | Screening with Q&A

Bias in the Algorithm

Thu. Jun. 3, 2021 at 7pm on WKAR OVEE |  Can a search engine produce racially biased results? Can software recognize faces with unbiased accuracy? Join the film screening and conversation exploring the impact of bias in internet search and facial recognition technologies. 
This virtual film screening with panel discussion features two short films: Search Engine Breakdown, from the NOVA television series seen on PBS; and Algorithmic Injustice, a report from WKAR Public Media produced in collaboration with NOVA. The WKAR report explores the case of Michael Oliver, a Black man falsely arrested in Detroit after being misidentified by facial recognition technology.

This event is FREE but registration is required.

The evening is presented by WKAR Public Media in partnership with East Lansing Public Library.

Angelo Moreno, adult services librarian at East Lansing Public Library, moderates a Q & A session following the film screenings and will offer commentary on library catalogs and other resources to search for information in comparison to internet search engines.


  • Angelo Moreno, Adult Services Librarian at East Lansing Public Library
  • Carol Yancho, Filmmaker
  • Arun Ross, MSU Computer Science And Engineering
  • Xiaoming Liu, MSU Computer Science And Engineering

Algorithmic Injustice? Racial bias and facial recognition (7 min)
A useful tool for consumers and law enforcement alike, facial recognition technology can help police officers identify—and ultimately charge—criminals caught on camera. But its critics argue that it's discriminatory: Research shows that facial recognition software often misidentifies people of color at a much higher rate than white individuals. The report from WKAR Public Media explores the case of Michael Oliver, a Black man falsely arrested in Detroit based on facial recognition technology. Produced in collaboration with NOVA.

Search Engine Breakdown (20 min)
Why does a widely used internet search engine deliver results that can be blatantly racist and sexist? Two leading information researchers investigate their discoveries of hidden biases in the search technology we rely on every day, involving pornographic images and ads implying criminal behavior triggered by simple search queries.?

This film screening and conversation is a virtual event hosted by WKAR on the OVEE platform. OVEE stands for Online Viewing and Engagement Experience.

Created by ITVS and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), OVEE combines quality HD media and livestream content with the community-building conversation of social media in a single-screen experience.

First-time registrants will create a free OVEE account and will be asked to provide their birthdate to verify their age as 13 or older. Accounts can be anonymous. 

If you have questions about this event or the OVEE platform, please send an email to events@wkar.org.

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