Seeing how the evolution of technology has been discussed in political, academic and societal conversations over the past decade, Orly Lobel, La Jolla resident and author, felt that the tone seemed “alarmist” and focused on the negatives.
“I’ve seen that we’ve developed this fear of the risks that digital technology poses, how we live in a surveillance [centered] world, that data is taken from us and algorithms make biased decisions based on that data,” she said.
For her third book, Lobel wanted to offer another look at how technology affects our lives. “The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future” is slated for release Tuesday, October 18, and the author will discuss and sign it later this month at Warwick Bookstore in La Jolla.
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The book “pivots the conversation and redirects us to a more balanced and optimistic look at how technology can advance social goals,” Lobel said.
“The Equality Machine” includes research and insights from people in the job search, dating market, political engagement organizations and others. Lobel, a professor and founder of the Center for Employment and Labor Policy at the University of San Diego Law School, said the book focuses on how technology can detect discrimination or subvert stereotypes.
“There are several chapters on how the labor market is changing and how our use of online platforms to find our jobs is expanding and diversifying the pool [of candidates] for those who don’t get the information they need by word of mouth,” she said. “It also helps people know their worth and tackle pay inequality. Humans have biases, and using new software that exists can signal inequities. There are so many positive examples of how data sharing can be a force for good and empower those who previously had no information and were less well off before.
Lobel also interviewed a computer scientist who created a radiology robot that outperformed human radiologists.
“The potential is incredible in terms of technology and access; things like this could make health care much more accessible,” she said. Features like voice-to-text have been “huge for people with disabilities,” she added.
But, she said, many people are slow to incorporate certain technologies into their homes. “There are a lot of fearmongering and irrational fears in the conversation,” she said. “So there is evidence and research in the book.
“It’s also very personal as we balance career and family life and think about the risks and benefits of engaging with social media in all aspects of our lives. So the book is really for everyone. world.
Lobel, who frequents La Jolla Shores with her dog, is also the author of “You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side” and “Talent Wants to Be Free.”
His talk on “The Equality Machine” at Warwick’s, 7812 Girard Ave., will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27. Reserved seating is available when the book is pre-ordered from Warwick’s. Only books purchased from Warwick’s will be autographed. For more information, call (858) 454-0347. ◆