BOSTON — Sept. 9, 2020  — Skillsoft, a provider of digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge, today announced a free, interactive, and virtual Understanding Bias in Data Bootcamp to take place September 29-30. Hosted by Princeton University’s Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Data Society’s Merav Yuravlivker, and Harvard’s Matthew Finney, this two-day course is available to all interested learners and will explore practical ways to combat injustice by focusing on how data and the technologies that use that data impact bias.

Even the most well-intentioned AI tools and apps can be contaminated by structural biases that yield unintended outcomes. As the world around us is progressively shaped by this technology, the need for practitioners to understand, recognize, and prevent bias increases in parallel.

“So often technology is perceived by the public to be untouched by human bias. The reality is that the technologies shaping our world are deeply shaped by the humans who create it,” said Dr. Ruha Benjamin. “As tech practitioners and developers broaden and learn new techniques for data science, machine learning, and AI, a deep understanding around bias and how to identify and prevent it is vital to creating a world that’s positively – rather than negatively – shaped by technology.”

The first day will be a keynote from Dr. Ruha Benjamin on Race after Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. The second day will be a conceptual workshop aimed at practitioners and hosted by Merav Yuravlivker and Matthew Finney. Concepts taught during the Bootcamp will be immediately applicable to attendees across practice areas such as quantitative analysis, data analytics, data science, artificial intelligence, or machine learning. Both sessions will be recorded and available on-demand via Skillsoft’s Percipio learning platform. All registrants will receive a 60-day trial which provides access to more than 7,000 courses on topics such as Agile, DevOps, Python, and Machine Learning.

Dr. Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine, race and citizenship, knowledge, and power. She is also the founder of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab, and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Information Technology Policy, Program on History of Science, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Program on Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Department of Sociology. She serves on the Executive Committees for the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and Center for Digital Humanities.

Merav Yuravlivker is the CEO and co-founder of Data Society, a Washington, D.C.-based analytics training and advisory firm. Data Society delivers customized corporate data science training programs and consulting services to transform the way that businesses and government agencies operate. Built on real-world use cases and practical data science solutions, Data Society works with staff at every level from executives to analysts to bridge the data communication gap and empower professionals to solve tough challenges.

Matthew Finney, Data Scientist at Harvard University, applies data to advise and implement strategic decisions that enhance human outcomes. His current research focuses on statistical methods and computation at scale, as well as practical mitigation strategies for the ethical challenges these tools present. Previously, he has led advanced analytics consulting teams, introduced quantitative hypothesis-testing to executive decision making, and researched and developed AI/ML applications. He is currently pursuing his M.S. in Data Science at Harvard.

As technology plays an increasingly significant role in society, technologists have a growing duty to govern it responsibly. This Bootcamp will raise awareness about the pitfalls of relying on blind, data-driven decision making and help technologists become more alert to the consequences that may occur when bias is a factor and fairness a casualty. Upon completion of the Bootcamp, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the kinds of bias that exist in data sources, technology applications, and artificial intelligence.
  • Identify the unintended impact that unconscious bias can have.
  • Take action by grasping the role you can play as a technologist to identify and tackle bias.

The Understanding Bias in Data Bootcamp will be presented in conjunction with Data Society, a leader in practical data science training, and aligned with Skillsoft’s continued focus on creating learning experiences that ignite, inspire, and influence systemic diversity, equity, and inclusion. Visit Skillsoft’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion learning center to access several additional resources designed for organizations, leaders, and individuals.

Register for the Understanding Bias in Data Bootcamp and explore several additional planned Skillsoft Bootcamps on topics such as agile software development, AWS, CISSP, CompTIA Security+, and PMP.

About Skillsoft

Skillsoft delivers online learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge. Leveraging immersive, engaging content, Skillsoft enables organizations to unlock the potential in their best assets – their people – and build teams with the skills they need for success. Empowering 36 million learners and counting, Skillsoft democratizes learning through an intelligent learning experience and a customized, learner-centric approach to skills development with resources for Leadership Development, Business Skills, Technology & Development, Digital Transformation, and Compliance.

Skillsoft and SumTotal are partners to thousands of leading global organizations, including many Fortune 500 companies. The company features three award-winning systems that support learning, performance and success: Skillsoft learning content, the Percipio intelligent learning experience platform, and the SumTotal suite for Talent Development, which offers measurable impact across the entire employee lifecycle. Learn more at www.skillsoft.com.

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