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This article was published on February 22, 2021


IBM, Call for Code, and the Linux Foundation announce new open source projects to combat racism

IBM, Call for Code, and the Linux Foundation announce new open source projects to combat racism


Tristan Greene
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Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him

The Linux Foundation last week announced it was hosting seven open source projects in partnership with IBM and David Clark Cause’s Call for Code for Racial Justice.

Background: Call for Code for Racial Justice launched late last year to solicit solutions from the global coding community.

The goal of the challenge is to come up with novel open source solutions backed by IBM and partner technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. There are currently seven “solution starters” which are now hosted by the Linux Foundation.

According to IBM Call for Code director Ruth Davis:

These applications emerged from an internal IBM program called the Call for Code Emb(race) Challenge, where Black IBMers, supported by Red Hat’s Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) community, and allies designed technology solutions to address the problem of systemic racism.

The seven initiatives, per a Linux foundation blog post, include:

  • Fair Change: A platform to help record, catalog, and access evidence of potentially racially charged incidents to help enable transparency, reeducation and reform as a matter of public interest and safety.
  • TakeTwo: [This project] aims to help mitigate bias in digital content, whether it is overt or subtle, with a focus on text across news articles, headlines, web pages, blogs, and even code.
  • Five Fifths Voter: This web app empowers minorities to exercise their right to vote and helps ensure their voice is heard by determining optimal voting strategies and limiting suppression issues.
  • Legit-Info: Local legislation can have significant impacts on areas as far-reaching as jobs, the environment, and safety. Legit-Info helps individuals understand the legislation that shapes their lives.
  • Incident Accuracy Reporting System: This platform allows witnesses and victims to corroborate evidence or provide additional information from multiple sources against an official police report.
  • Open Sentencing: To help public defenders better serve their clients and make a stronger case, Open Sentencing shows racial bias in data such as demographics.
  • Truth Loop: This app helps communities simply understand the policies, regulations, and legislation that will impact them the most.

Quick take: Politicians are apparently not going to solve the problem of racial injustice for us no matter how hard we vote. Luckily for us, racism manifests through digitally traceable means more often than not in the modern world. And that means we can fight it with technology.

Call for Code is an unwavering force for good and, just like its previous efforts to combat climate change and mitigate the damage done by natural disasters, this is a necessary target for its endeavors. There are few more pressing problems in society than racial injustice, and arguably none more ripe for attack by an eager global coding community.

For more information check out the Call for Code for Racial Justice website here.

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