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Filmmaker Reveals the Hidden Inequalities of Artificial Intelligence in Coded Bias in Online Screening by the Appalachian Theatre Sunday

When an MIT researcher discovered that most facial recognition systems are less accurate with the faces of women and people of color, it brought to the forefront the issue of bias in technology that increasingly runs our society. Described by Variety as a ‘”thought-provoking wake-up call,” Coded Bias, a documentary film on the issue, will be presented in a special online screening by the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 20 and will be followed by an online taped discussion with the film’s director, Shalini Kantayya. Please note the change in start time from the previous announcement about the documentary film series.

Coded Bias is the first event presented by BOONE DOCS, the newly-launched year-round film series at the App Theatre featuring documentary films that spark community conversation by presenting an independent lens to view our world. Showcasing emerging and award-winning filmmakers and distinct perspectives from across the globe, BOONE DOCS celebrates the creative power of independent film.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is becoming more prevalent in areas that can profoundly impact people’s lives such as law enforcement and human resources. The film focuses on the work of three female mathematicians and data scientists — Joy Buolamwini, Deborah Raji, and Timnit Gebru — who research the implications of racial and gender bias in the cutting-edge technologies of AI and machine learning. Are the biases that exist in society being unconsciously replicated in the technology? Or worse, are opaque systems being used to shield deceptive practices?

“As sci-fi writers have inspired the imagination of AI developers, Coded Bias draws from science-fiction stylistic elements to visualize concepts in this new era of big data,” says Kantayya, the film’s director. “Coded Bias aims to inspire communities to spark new conversations about bias in the algorithms that impact civil liberties and democracy.”

Coded Bias Director Shalini Kantayya

This event is made possible through the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, a South Arts program. Since its inception in 1975, Southern Circuit has brought some of best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 Southern Circuit season features a hybrid model of in-person and online screenings to prioritize the health and flexibility of Screening Partner venues and filmmakers.

Coded Bias is offered free of charge to High Country audiences through the generous support of the theatre’s board of trustees. To subscribe to the theatre’s e-list and receive a link to view this event at no cost, visit the theatre’s website at www.apptheatre.org.


About the Appalachian Theatre

The mission of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is to revitalize and sustain this historic community touchstone as a quality home for diverse artists and audiences with a special focus on programs that celebrate our distinctive Appalachian heritage and enhance our capacity to serve as an economic catalyst for Boone and the High Country. Once a gorgeous 999-seat Art Deco movie house, the building closed in 2007 and sat empty and gutted for years. On October 14, 2019, the Appalachian Theatre re-opened its doors after a $10 million renovation that brought the distinctive Art Deco details back to this historic theatre and created a new 629-seat, state-of-the-art, acoustically fabulous venue for live concerts, films, plays, and dance performances. The historic Appalachian Theatre has entertained regional audiences in the heart of downtown Boone, North Carolina since 1938. www.apptheatre.org

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.