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Nicki Washington: How Tackling Tech's Diversity Challenges Can Spur Innovation


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Duke University computer science professor in practice Nicki Washington.

"The problems in technology don't begin with technology; they begin with the environment where people are learning and working."-Nicki Washington

Courtesy Photo

Nicki Washington is a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Nicki Washington has long argued that computer scientists should better understand how their own identities affect their work. She joined Duke University in June 2020 and launched a groundbreaking course that analyzes how race, gender, and class influence the way technologies get developed. In an interview, she talks about computing's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) challenges and more.

"Some disciplines teach cultural competence because they work with clients and patients from a range of backgrounds and identities," Washington says. "Why are we not doing this in computer science when the technology we're developing impacts the same people in ways that are equally as harmful?"

From MIT Technology Review
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