Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, Tues. Feb 5, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. LC 102


The Without Limits: Interdisciplinary Conversations in the Liberal Arts series continues this spring with a talk by Virginia Eubanks, an Associate Professor of Political Science and affiliate of the Women’s Studies Department at the University at Albany, SUNY. Eubanks will give a talk on her latest book, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor.

Today, automated systems control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data analytics, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.

In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. Deeply researched and passionately written, Automating Inequality could not be more timely.

Eubanks’ writing about technology and social justice has appeared in Scientific American, The Nation, Harper’s, and Wired.

The talk is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Benjamin Center for Public Policy.  A reception will follow the event, which is free and open to the public.

About Without Limits

This year’s Without Limits theme is “March of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence, Interactivity, and Automation in the Digital Age.”  For more information, visit the Without Limits website.