Black Tech Researchers are Changing the Game

As we know, the AI takeover is among us. Jobs are being replaced left and right yet being widely created within the AI development industry. Not only are jobs becoming widespread in the industry, but black AI researchers are as well. The future of AI is a common concern of citizens, but black AI researchers have been changing the game significantly.

A well-known black Stanford graduate and computer scientist Timnit Gerbu has a passion for pursuing diversity in technology. Gerbu was a former Google employee co-leading a research team called Ethical AI Team. When she criticized Google’s lack of hiring minorities and then wrote a paper highlighting the dangers of large language models, she was soon laid off by Google. However this only made her realize that Google was the wrong environment for her to pursue the work she wanted, so she decided to continue her work on her own. “That really clarified that I couldn’t really do that kind of work in a setting like Google,” Gerbu said in a recent interview. “and so I started a nonprofit called the Distributed AI Research Institute to do this work.”

Distributed AI Research Institute, also known as DAIR, was created by Gerbu with the desire to have an institute where people are distributed around the world impacting AI and social development. Yet Gerbu is not the only one who is seeking an ethical change in AI. Computer scientist Rediet Abebe grew up with a passion for mathematics, but questions revolving around discrimination and inequality in Cambridge sparked an interest. Abebe focuses her work on the discrimination and inequality in economic welfare, housing, and education that is often overlooked. “I think about ways in which discrimination plays out in these domains,” Abebe said in a 2021 interview. “Ways in which we’re not maybe doing a very good job measuring the inequality or the sort of disadvantage that people are facing. And then after doing that I also think about what can be done about this.”

Abebe and Gerbu founded the Black in AI in 2017 and has been thriving ever since, growing from a Facebook group to a global nonprofit organization with over 5000 members with big sponsors such as Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Oracle, and more. Its purpose is to give support and opportunities to black professionals and address the lack of diversity in the technology field.

Though spreading the word through technology is not the only way. Sociologist and Princeton University professor Ruha Benjamin shares her message about equity and technology through books. She’s written award-winning works such as Race After Technology, which describes how racism is within the ideologies and practices of U.S. technology companies and society. It received the 2020 Honorable Mention for Communications, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology Book Award, the 2020 Winner of the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award, and the 2020 Brooklyn Public Literary Prize for Nonfiction. Her book Viral Justice provides a passionate vision of how small changes turn into large changes that transform relationships and communities to make the world a better place, winning the 2023 Stowe Prize.

Benjamin wants not only her audience but society itself to think about complex systems like healthcare, criminal justice, and education systems where institutions outsource human decisions and turn them into risk assessment tools. “by calling attention to discriminatory design, it’s the human decisions and values that shape the process of tech development. We’re able to see the hard. We have a language to identify the harm, but the hope is not that we stop there,” Benjamin said in a Princeton University interview. “The hope is that by seeing the harm, we feel empowered, and we feel motivated.” She understands that one book may not be able to do all of that, but she also knows that one book can make a difference and impact someone’s life.

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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