More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

by Meredith Broussard
More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

by Meredith Broussard


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, December 6
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


When technology reinforces inequality, it’s not just a glitch—it’s a signal that we need to redesign our systems to create a more equitable world.

The word “glitch” implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren’t just bugs in mostly functional machinery—what if they’re coded into the system itself? In the vein of heavy hitters such as Safiya Umoja Noble, Cathy O’Neil, and Ruha Benjamin, Meredith Broussard demonstrates in More Than a Glitch how neutrality in tech is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable.

Broussard, a data scientist and one of the few Black female researchers in artificial intelligence, masterfully synthesizes concepts from computer science and sociology. She explores a range of examples: from facial recognition technology trained only to recognize lighter skin tones, to mortgage-approval algorithms that encourage discriminatory lending, to the dangerous feedback loops that arise when medical diagnostic algorithms are trained on insufficiently diverse data. Even when such technologies are designed with good intentions, Broussard shows, fallible humans develop programs that can result in devastating consequences.

Broussard argues that the solution isn’t to make omnipresent tech more inclusive, but to root out the algorithms that target certain demographics as “other” to begin with. With sweeping implications for fields ranging from jurisprudence to medicine, the ground-breaking insights of More Than a Glitch are essential reading for anyone invested in building a more equitable future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262047654
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 03/14/2023
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 303,807
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Meredith Broussard is Associate Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and Research Director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology. She is the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World (MIT Press). Her work has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, BBC, Wired, the Economist, and more. She appears in the 2020 documentary Coded Bias and serves on the advisory board for the Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies. More information at @merbroussard or

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Understanding Machine Bias 11
3 Recognizing Bias in Facial Recognition 29
4 Machine Fairness and the Justice System 45
5 Real Students, Imaginary Grades 65
6 Ability and Technology 79
7 Gender Rights and Databases 103
8 Diagnosing Racism 117
9 An AI Told Me I Had Cancer 135
10 Creating Public Interest Technology 157
11 Potential Reboot 173
Acknowledgments 189
Notes 193
Bibliography 205
Index 223

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“With unmatched clarity and galvanizing insight, Meredith Broussard demystifies the mathematical underpinnings of AI and slays the magical mythos of Big Tech like no other! Everyone who cares about the future of tech and society should read this book yesterday.”
—Ruha Benjamin, author of Race after Technology and Viral Justice
“With the clarity that few technology scholars can muster, More than Glitch powerfully demonstrates why we must understand culture - not just computation - if we are to imagine and design a future that reaches beyond fairness to build equity and justice into our technological systems.”  
—Charlton McIlwain, Professor, NYU; author of Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, From the Afronet to Black Lives Matter
“From the case of the racist soap dispenser to the assistive listening technology that wasn’t, More than a Glitch exposes and analyzes the way unreflective use of tech can reinforce the very human biases it claims to be immune to.”
—Jordan Ellenberg, Professor of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; author of How Not To Be Wrong and Shape

“Broussard is a patient, empathetic, and witty tour guide, ushering the reader through multiple deep-dive journalistic and personal endeavors that are alternately terrifying and heartwarming, enraging and inspiring. She deftly reframes the question of how to build AI equitably from a technical issue to a human one.” 
—Cathy O’Neil, author of The Shame Machine and Weapons of Math Destruction

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews