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Directed by Shalini Kantayya

United States 2020 90 min. In English

The Northwest Film Center and the Portland Art Museum present Coded Bias. Opens online Friday, November 20, 2020.

Coded Bias explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all.

Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, AI is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected.

“Thought-provoking. ”Coded Bias” serves as both a wake-up call (to invasive practices the public doesn’t yet realize are being implemented) and a call to action.” — Valerie Complex, VARIETY

Your $10.00 ticket will directly support both NWFC and PAM and we encourage all of our members, staff, and supporters to join us—and spread the word.

Tickets will be available here from November 20 through December 31st.

At a time when the bulk of cinemas are expected to remain shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, our plan is to continue bringing new films to the PAM and NWFC audiences that allow us to follow social distancing rules.

Coded Bias
Directed by Shalini Kantayya
United States | 2020 | 90 min | Documentary

Director Shalini Kantayya illuminates our mass misconceptions about AI and emphasizes the urgent need for legislative protection. From facial scanning used for policing and surveillance to automated HR systems that mirror and magnify workplace prejudices, these technologies are created with fundamentally biased building blocks. Emboldened by these remarkable and troubling discoveries, Buolamwini charts a way forward by joining ranks with other concerned experts to form a justice league committed to increasing awareness of the biases that underlie the technology that shapes our lives yet is largely free from legislative and public scrutiny.

Genres: Documentary



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.