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Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech

Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech

by Sara Wachter-Boettcher


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A revealing look at how tech industry bias and blind spots get baked into digital products—and harm us all.

Buying groceries, tracking our health, finding a date: whatever we want to do, odds are that we can now do it online. But few of us ask why all these digital products are designed the way they are. It’s time we change that. Many of the services we rely on are full of oversights, biases, and downright ethical nightmares: Chatbots that harass women. Signup forms that fail anyone who’s not straight. Social media sites that send peppy messages about dead relatives. Algorithms that put more black people behind bars.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher takes an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that lead to these and other problems. Technically Wrong demystifies the tech industry, leaving those of us on the other side of the screen better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use—and demand more from the companies behind them.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393356045
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 195,827
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sara Wachter-Boettcher runs Rare Union, a consultancy based in Philadelphia, and is the author of Technically Wrong, Design for Real Life, with Eric Meyer, and Content Everywhere. She helps organizations with digital product and content strategy, and speaks at conferences worldwide.

Table of Contents

1 Welcome to the Machine 1

2 Culture Misfit 13

3 Normal People 27

4 Select One 49

5 Delighted to Death 77

6 Tracked, Tagged, and Targeted 101

7 Algorithmic Inequity 119

8 Built to Break 147

9 Meritocracy Now, Meritocracy Forever 173

10 Technically Dangerous 195

Acknowledgments 201

Notes 203

Index 223

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