Meredith Broussard

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 meredithbroussard.com.

  • More Than a Glitch

    Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

    Meredith Broussard

    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—they're coded into the system itself? In More Than a Glitch, Meredith Broussard demonstrates how technological neutrality is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable.

    Broussard, a data scientist who has worked in journalism and software development, masterfully synthesizes concepts from computer science and sociology alongside her own experience as one of the few Black female researchers in artificial intelligence. Citing examples such as sensors trained only to recognize lighter skin tones and the dangerous feedback loops that arise when predictive policing and medical diagnostic algorithms are fed on discriminatory data, she illuminates how technologies designed to boost convenience are also prone to perpetuating bias. Even with good intentions, fallible humans develop programs that can inflict devastating consequences when ineptitude tips into oppression.

    Broussard argues that the solution isn't to make omnipresent tech more inclusive, but to root out the frameworks that target certain demographics as “other” to begin with. With sweeping implications for disciplines ranging from jurisprudence to medicine, the simultaneously pathbreaking and practical insights of More Than a Glitch are essential reading for anyone invested in building a more equitable future.

    • Hardcover $26.95
  • Artificial Unintelligence

    Artificial Unintelligence

    How Computers Misunderstand the World

    Meredith Broussard

    A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right.

    In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. With this book, she offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology—and issues a warning that we should never assume that computers always get things right.

    Making a case against technochauvinism—the belief that technology is always the solution—Broussard argues that it's just not true that social problems would inevitably retreat before a digitally enabled Utopia. To prove her point, she undertakes a series of adventures in computer programming. She goes for an alarming ride in a driverless car, concluding “the cyborg future is not coming any time soon”; uses artificial intelligence to investigate why students can't pass standardized tests; deploys machine learning to predict which passengers survived the Titanic disaster; and attempts to repair the U.S. campaign finance system by building AI software. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.

    • Hardcover $24.95
    • Paperback $15.95