Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Coded Bias

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Must-see docu about tech bias has some strong language.

Movie NR 2020 90 minutes
Coded Bias Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (1 ):

This is a thought-provoking film about how various forms of biometric surveillance, artificial intelligence, and data science techonology can be biased in both implementation and use. Everyone should watch this film to understand the invasive, even harmful way that computer vision, automated decision-making, and targeted marketing can have real and lasting consequences for people. The evidence of discrimination is plentiful: Viewers hear about an AI recruitment tool that rejected all female applicants, a credit card application AI that gave women lower credit limits, an insurance algorithm that prioritized White members over people of color. The idea of machine neutrality is, in fact, a myth, the experts say. Left unregulated, Buolamwini claims, technology is like the Wild Wild West, so we need laws to make sure the technology isn't discriminatory. "People who have been marginalized will be further marginalized if we're not looking at ways of making sure the technology we're creating doesn't propagate bias," she says.

At other points in the film, a U.K. activist concerned about the Big Brother-like use of cameras in her country discusses how everything people do with technology means being watched, tracked, and monitored. Kantayya lays out the case for transparency, regulation, and activism with an impressive list of interview subjects (it's no coincidence that she focuses on women leaders in these fields) who make it clear that we, as social media users, are voluntarily offering so much information about ourselves that it's easy for data scientists and algorithms to predict our interests, behavior, and even vices. While marketing makeup and apparel might seem harmless, marketing ideas or political candidates is quite another. This film, along with The Social Dilemma, should be mandatory viewing for families to discuss digital citizenship, privacy, and the enormous influence that the tech industry has on our daily lives.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate