Recently, Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol was interviewed in the show “Atomun” of Venezuelan television channel TeleSur. In this program, Mireia talked about the reproduction of discriminatory practices based on people’s age (ageism) in the digital world. She explains that machine learning processes that predict digital behaviors are biased by design against different minority groups. In regards to ageism, this can be observed, for example, in biometrical identification methods (e.g., iris recognition, fingerprint scanning) used by some digital platforms, methods which are designed for an archetypical user that is rather younger than older.
Related to this, Mireia also points to ageist assumptions present in the market, wherein market research companies charge an extra fare when sampling people over 75 years old, assuming they are not sufficiently skilled, knowledgeable, or reachable to participate in studies related to digital media technologies. One possible solution Mireia suggests is to better account for social diversity (i.e., age, gender, ethnic heritage…) and to include participants in the processes of technology and research design.
Check out the video (in Spanish) in the links section (starting in 08:18).