Coded Bias


2020 Season
Virtual Film Events, New York digital edition
When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software misidentifies women and darker-skinned faces, as a woman of color working in a field dominated by white males, she is compelled to investigate further. What she discovers drives her to push the US government to create legislation to counter the far-reaching dangers of bias in a technology that is steadily encroaching on our lives. Centering the voices of women leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected, Coded Bias asks two key questions: what is the impact of Artificial Intelligence’s increasing role in governing our liberties? And what are the consequences for people stuck in the crosshairs due to their race, color, and gender? 

"Because of the power of these tools, left unregulated there is no recourse for abuse ... we need laws."
- Joy Buolamwini, Coded Bias

Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival, 2020 



You can view the recording of the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival Q&A with filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, researcher, UCLA professor & author Safiya Noble, Tech Fellow at AI Now Institute Deborah Raji, Joy Buolamwini, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, and Policy Director at NYCLU Lee Rowland - moderated by Deborah Brown, Senior Researcher & Digital Rights Advocate, Human Rights Watch here on our Facebook page.  
Shalini Kantayya
Country of Production: 
USA/UK/China/South Africa
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Shalini Kantayya

Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya’s feature documentary, Coded Bias, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She directed the season finale episode for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future, Executive Produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in June 2017. Her debut feature film Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York 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 a finalist for the ABC Disney DGA Directing Program. She is an Associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism