This Will Be the Year We See Tech Equity Make Its Mark and Move Beyond Gesture

Karen Borchgrevink

Karen Borchgrevink is founder and executive director of LA Tech4Good, a nonprofit at the intersection of social impact and technology. There, she creates space for people to engage in big questions around tech's place in society, and to move the needle on tech as a force for social change in an age of big data. Her career has spanned digital transformations in publishing and printing -- from Hollywood to the nonprofit world -- and now focuses on expanding the breadth and depth of using “tech for good."

This Will Be the Year We See Tech Equity Make Its Mark and Move Beyond Gesture

2022 will be a year of growth and momentum around tech equity and ethics.

Independent efforts for racial and gender equity through tech flourished in 2021. Many of us chafe at using the term “DEI” (which stands for “diversity, equity and inclusion”) as it’s become a marketing slogan for some. Instead, we’re designing ways to do things differently so that we can better tackle the ways that tech can be used to enforce inequalities.

Already there are some shining examples of efforts underway. Researchers, activists and journalists are looking into how they can use big data and AI to aid in these efforts.


For instance, Dr Timnit Gebru, fired from leadership of Google’s ethics in AI team, has launched the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR) as a space for independent, community-rooted AI research free from Big Tech’s pervasive influence. DAIR produces Artificial Intelligence (AI) research grounded in eliminating risk and harm from data. They believe in a bottoms-up approach to research, and they make their findings available to and understood by impacted communities, not just a select few.

The Data Science for All (DS4A) program at data literacy tech company Correlation One is training 10,000 new data professionals from underrepresented communities within three years and mentors them into positions in the industry.

There’s also reason for optimism in the public sector. The city of Los Angeles' data team shares data, including dashboards, maps and graphics, with community groups. The goal, says Community Data Manager Preston Mills, is to“let folks in” – that is, give them a voice in thinking, for example, how city data could better support racial equity.

We here at LA Tech4Good are also tapping into a desire among data practitioners for actionable equity, ethics and AI tools. Our Data Equity + Ethics workshop series trains leaders on practical tools, empowering them to propagate fair data practices in their workplaces.

These examples offer only a snapshot of what’s in store. As we head into the new year, 2022 promises to be the year we increase equity and ethics in and through technology. Let’s make this the year we work together to create new ways to do that.

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10 Viral TikTok Tech Gadgets To Buy This Holiday Season

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: Disney Taps Bob Iger for CEO, Former Meta Exec Joins DeSo
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Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Swell Energy Lands $120M, Modyfi Draws in $8M
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