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Target’s annual week-long Fall National event in 2019

A story of how shareholder primacy brought increased surveillance, policing, gentrification, and racial inequities across communities in the US and how companies skirt accountability and rewrite the rules to benefit their focus on growth-above-all-else.

By. Dr. Wilneida Negrón

On Wednesday, June 10, 2010, at 1:30 p.m MST inside The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, Colorado, Target Corporation held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders. During the Q&A portion of the meeting, shareholders pressed executives on whether Target coupons could be extended beyond a week, plans for further green programming, supporting local scholarships, and barriers to the opening of a second Target location in Hollywood. Target executives presented their multi-pronged strategy for driving growth in the next decade — refreshing the existing store base, expanding current store formats in suburban areas, testing smaller store formats in dense urban markets, and exploring opportunities for international expansion. …


In the wake of high-profile data breaches at Cambridge Analytica, Yahoo, Equifax, and other companies, privacy issues are increasingly the focus of attention and conversation. But privacy is a complicated issue, and often a contested one: Is privacy a human right? How much privacy are we willing to give up in exchange for convenience or public safety? Should the industry self-regulate, or should government step in? These are just some of the questions still up for debate.

With the rise of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, biometric and facial recognition systems, and block chain, we need a diversity of voices and perspectives to help answer these urgent and critical questions. Increasingly, we also need to consider how data is being used to make decisions that can marginalize people, exacerbate inequalities, perpetuate bias, and chill fundamental freedoms. To this end, activists and organizations have been documenting how over-collection of data, and the lack of comprehensive legal protections related to data and privacy, are hurting people and communities. …


Lessons for the new Partnership on AI Nonprofit

Two weeks ago, Amazon, Google, Deep Minds, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft launched a new nonprofit called, Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. Generally, the goals of this venture are to: (1) support best practices, (2) create an open platform for discussion and engagement, and (3) advance understanding. Sounds ambitious and timely, you might say.

Although, a step in the right direction, the Partnership on AI does highlight a certain conundrum — what exactly is it that we want from Silicon Valley’s tech giants? Do we want a seat at their table? Or are we asking for a deeper and more sustaining type of participation?


Loosening Silicon Valley’s Grip

For all the growing interest and hype around artificial intelligence, most of us still know very little about how this technology is being developed. Although, the academic community has been involved in the development of AI for many years now, there’s a growing industry/academia nexus taking place — and with Silicon Valley’s increasing involvement. Not surprisingly, the AI industry has now become a high stakes industry, with much of the research and development taking place behind closed doors. …

About

Dr. Wilneida Negrón

Technologist/Scholar/Advocate @datasociety wilneida.com

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