Mar Hicks: “We Belong”
This Week's Guest: Mar Hicks
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Mar Hicks, Associate Professor of History at Illinois Institute of Technology, dives into the history of bias in technology by first sharing with Melinda how they arrived at the decision to become a technology historian. Mar touches on how their mother was a programmer and the role that societal bias growing up in Boston as a queer, non-binary person came together to shape their interest in the history of technology. These formative factors mixed with a few more, like their time spent as a UNIX Administrator at Harvard after graduation, brought them to the realization that they wanted to study the history of technology, gender and sexuality, and algorithmic bias, and how these interplay to impact people’s lives.
Mar and Melinda’s conversation energetically weaves an interesting tapestry of personal experiences and anecdotal evidence about the lengths, both conscious and unconscious, that society, government, and the technology industry have gone to instill bias. This episode sheds light on this once overlooked yet socially impactful issue of the technology era.
BOOKS AND ARTICLES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy
Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, by Virginia Eubanks
Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, by Meredith Broussard
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, by Safiya Umoja Nobles
Tech Workers Coalition A coalition of tech industry workers, labor organizers, community organizers, and friends cultivating solidarity among all workers in tech.
More About Mar Hicks
Marie Hicks is an Associate Professor of History of Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a 2018-2019 fellow at the National Humanities Center in Triangle Park, North Carolina. Hicks specializes in the history of computing, gender, and disasters, and their award-winning book, Programmed Inequality, published by MIT Press in 2017, looks at how the U.K. lost its early lead in computing by systematically removing women technologists from the field. Hicks is currently working on a book about technological resistance, hidden histories of computing, and the deep pre-history of transphobic algorithmic bias.