Renée Cummings Talks Civil Rights and AI on Tech Tank Podcast 

March 17, 2022
Renée Cummings

Renée Cummings, Data Activist in Residence at the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science and Criminologist, joined the Brookings Institution “Tech Tank” Podcast as a featured guest.  

In this episode, Cummings joined co-guest Lisa Rice, President, and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, and host, Nicole Turner Lee, to discuss artificial intelligence and civil rights. 

Cummings called on data scientists to be conscious of bias in their data and the impact of outcomes if biased data is used. “If we are using historically biased data sets or if we are using data sets that are challenged because of bias and discrimination and systematic racism, it means the accuracy of our decision-making systems are being undermined,” 

Cummings told host Turner Lee there are benefits of deploying data science in the criminal justice system but the risk associated should be the focus, as biased data make high-risk decisions impacting criminal records, housing, and loans. 

“When we think about data, tech, and AI, we have to think about power, privilege, and politics,” said Cummings. “We’ve got to think about how the tools that are being designed now—new and emerging technologies—how these tools are really transmitting that intergenerational trauma.”

Tech Tank Podcast Episode 39

Listen to the full episode, here