What if the data tell you to be racist? Without the right precautions, machine learning — the technology that drives risk assessment in law enforcement, as well as hiring and loan decisions — explicitly penalizes underprivileged groups. Left to its own devices, the algorithm will count a black defendant’s race as a strike against the person. Yet some data scientists are calling for turning off the safeguards and unleashing computerized prejudice, signaling an emerging threat that supersedes the well-known concerns about inadvertent machine bias.

Imagine sitting across from a person being evaluated for a job, a loan or even parole. When asked how the decision process works, you inform them, “For one thing, our algorithm penalized your score by seven points because you’re black.”

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A new study out of UC Berkeley found that less-educated black women who report high levels of racial discrimination may face higher risk of developing chronic diseases.

Amani M. Allen, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences in UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, was the lead author on the study, the results of which were published earlier this month in the journal Psycho­neuro­endocrinology.

Allen and her team studied 208 black women between the ages 30 and 50 from the Bay Area in order to examine the relationship between racial discrimination and allostatic load, a measure of chronic physiologic stress in the body and predictor of chronic diseases.

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Women in agriculture say widespread gender discrimination persists and poses obstacles to their ability to help feed the world, according to a new study from Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

The survey’s findings reveal that although women are overwhelmingly proud to be in agriculture, they perceive gender discrimination as widespread, ranging from 78% in India to 52% in the United States.

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Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes, high school seniors, have been friends since they were 6, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams, and were in the same church group.

But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks, on the north side, and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.

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Race-based discrimination is common in the hiring process.

For example, racial minorities are less likely than whites to receive a callback when they apply for a job. There are also wide earning gaps, with African-Americans and Latinos earning a fraction of what whites and Asians do.

Yet despite laws that aim to reduce employment discrimination and improve attitudes toward diversity, these patterns have not changed for decades.

When analyzing these problems, researchers and others tend to focus on how the experiences of racial minorities compare with those of whites. Often missing is whether there are differences among individuals of the same racial group in terms of how they experience bias.

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California has become the first state to require publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors, one of several laws boosting or protecting women that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sunday.

The measure requires at least one female director on the board of each California-based public corporation by the end of next year. Companies would need up to three female directors by the end of 2021, depending on the number of board seats.

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There is widespread suspicion that women and minorities only get appointed to top corporate jobs when companies are in deep trouble. A 2012 study provided evidence that this “glass cliff” phenomenon is real, and dubbed it the “savior effect.”

New research reports those “saviors” are very often Asian Americans. Analyzing five decades of data, it finds they are 2.5 times as likely to be appointed chief executive officer if a firm is in decline.

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Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder?

A new online data tool being made public Monday finds a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream.

Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has been working with a team of researchers on this tool — the first of its kind because it marries U.S. Census Bureau data with data from the Internal Revenue Service. And the findings are changing how researchers think about economic mobility.

It used to be that people born in the 1940s or ’50s were virtually guaranteed to achieve the American dream of earning more than your parents did, Chetty says. But that’s not the case anymore.

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You may have heard about the scientist giving a talk in Geneva presenting male physicists as the “real” victims of gender discrimination.

Professor Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University said “physics was invented and built by men” alongside a number of other claims during his presentation at the otherwise positive and fascinating High Energy Theory and Gender event. The conference was meant to share recent developments in theoretical physics and cosmology alongside talks on gender and equal opportunities.

But this professor’s talk seemed instead to be deliberately provocative, dubiously backed up by slides and doublespeak, with him reinterpreting everything from unequal pay and hiring as hurting men more than women, to women receiving fewer citations than men (I guess he hasn’t read this study on how men cite themselves an awful lot) so that everything pointed to men being the “real” victims of sexism in physics.

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Tara Benally and her 16-year-old son Delaney After Buffalo set up a plastic table alongside the last dusty highway intersection before the Arizona state line.

Here in Monument Valley, in the shadows of the towering red rock monoliths sacred among the Navajo, the two are doing something that’s rarely been done in this part of Utah: conducting a voter registration drive for local Native Americans.

For the first time, Navajo and Utes living here have a chance at being fully represented at the local level when they vote in November. Even though Native Americans are the majority in this 14,750-person county, slightly edging out whites, county commissioner and school board district lines were gerrymandered to give white voters disproportionate power for more than three decades.

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