Coded Bias

Coded Bias

Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • Shalini Kantayya


  • 2020, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Film Program: Feature Film Grant

An exploration of the implications of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini's startling discovery that racial bias is written into the code of facial recognition algorithms.

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.

Image courtesy of Shalini Kantayya

Possible Topics

  • The psychology and neurobiology of implicit bias
  • Facial-recognition technology—how it works (and does not work)
  • Civil liberties in the age of AI

Past Programs


Untangling the web of racially biased artificial intelligence

Indiana University Cinema, Bloomington, IN


The face (recognition) of justice

Rosendale Theatre Collective, Rosendale, NY

[ONLINE] AI bias and its consequences

Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

[ONLINE] Big Brother and the Big Apple

Firehouse: DCTV's Cinema for Documentary Film, New York, NY

Breaking down bias

Discovery Place, Charlotte, NC

The learning machine

Ragtag Cinema, Columbia, MO


[VIRTUAL] Lack of equity in technology

Arkansas Cinema Society, Little Rock, AR


Confronting an automating society

Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee, WI