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“Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating” Conversation and Book Signing

April 2, 2024

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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Berkman Klein Multipurpose Room (Room 515)

1557 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

A new book by Dr. Apryl Williams exposes how race-based discrimination is a fundamental part of the most popular and influential dating algorithms. “Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating” (Stanford University Press) provides a socio-technical examination of the AI systems powering Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and other apps. Williams uses deep analysis of companies’ patents and technology to reveal how racism and romance are now inextricably linked through computer code. She also interviews more than 100 app users, exploring why online dating as a person of color is so fraught.

Dr. Williams explores the dating platforms’ algorithms, their lack of transparency, the legal and ethical discourse in the context of these companies’ community guidelines, and accounts from individual users in order to argue that sexual racism is a central feature of today’s online dating culture. She discusses this reality in the context of facial recognition and sorting software as well as user experiences, drawing parallels to the long history of eugenics and banned interracial partnerships. Ultimately, Williams calls for, both a reconceptualization of the technology and policies that govern dating agencies, and also a reexamination of sociocultural beliefs about attraction, beauty, and desirability.

This hybrid event will feature Dr. Williams in conversation with the Cyberlaw Clinic’s Kendra Albert, a legal scholar of computing, gender, and society.

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April 2, 2024, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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