Facets: Issue 24

October 29, 2016

This Twenty-Something Forced Silicon Valley to ‘Show Her the Numbers

Miranda Katz
"It was deeply ironic, she thought, that in a data-driven industry that prides itself on running experiments... there was no official, easily accessible data about the number of women actually working in the field."

These days, "data" is the be-all end-all; until, that is, it comes time to let it quantify our missteps. This piece looks back at Tracy Chou's 2013 article, "Where are the numbers?" and follows up on its consequences, both on its author and the tech community at large. The data is starting to arrive— but is it enough?

Building Better Tech Cultures for People with ADHD

"I stare uncomprehending at the variables on my screen, not knowing where to start and lacking the executive function to find a way in. If I get stuck for too long, I spiral into shame, anxiety, and self-doubt."

A call for neurodiversity and greater understanding of tech workers with ADHD, contextualised with personal examples of the author's own struggles with fundamental aspects of 'tech culture'— Slack, team building events, misleading stereotypes— and the debilitating feedback loops they create.

InCoding  —  In The Beginning

Joy Buolamwini
"To test out the code I created for the Aspire Mirror and subsequent projects, I wore a white mask so that my face can be detected in a variety of lighting conditions."

An exploration of the 'embedded bias in code,' Buolamwini examines how the code we write reflects the lack of inclusion and diversity in our communities. Short but sharp, the piece encourages us to "code with a universal gaze." The first part in a hopefully-soon-to-be-continued series!

'POC Inbox' and 'Response Template'

Yanyi Luo
"we regret to say that we cannot offer you a place on the board at this time. However, I did want to catch up with you anyway and get your opinions of how things are going on diversity in our organization."

These two poems by Yanyi Luo are a tough read. The messages, assumptions and biases of 'POC Inbox' are left to stand on their own, their cliches and banalities incisively contrasted by the 'Response Template' that follows.

PSA:

Code2040's Fellows Program is accepting applications until November 1st! This intensive summer career accelerator offers internships and career-building opportunities to Black and Latinx computer science students at top tech companies in San Francisco.

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