Coded Bias

No Longer Available

Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Mind the Gap
Active Cinema
Focus: Democracy
Running Time:87 min.
Director:Shalini Kantayya
Producer:Shalini Kantayya
Screenwriter:Shalini Kantayya
Cinematographer:Steve Acevedo
Note Writer:Shari Kizirian


Screening note: This digital screening is available to view between 12:01am PT on Friday, October 9, and 11:59pm PT on Sunday, October 18, and is available to ticket buyers and passholders within the United States.


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The Algorithmic Justice League might not get a Marvel movie anytime soon, but they are the (s)heroes our AI-driven world needs right now. Artificial Intelligence is already inextricable from our daily lives, influencing what we buy (and how much we pay), who we vote for, even whether or not we are stopped by police. After MIT Media Lab’s Joy Buolamwini revealed the racial and gender biases built into facial recognition software, she teamed up with other concerned academics to impact legislation before these algorithms do further damage. Aided by other forward thinkers that include Harvard’s Cathy O’Neil and Silkie Carlo of the UK’s Big Brother Watch, documentarian Shalini Kantayya follows Buolamwini’s quest, along the way demystifying the esoteric material with easily digestible, if chilling, real-world illustrations. Clips from familiar science-fiction movies sprinkled throughout add pop culture levity to the warning that AI’s dystopia is not some distant future to be dreaded. For most of us, it is already here.

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Additional Information

Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya’s Coded Bias premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She directed for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, executive produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in June 2017. Her debut, Catching the Sun, premiered at the LA Film Festival and was named a NY Times Critics’ Pick. Catching the Sun released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio, and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary. Kantayya is a TED Fellow, a William J. Fulbright Scholar, and an Associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.