NPR

'Automating Inequality': Algorithms In Public Services Often Fail The Most Vulnerable

Author Virginia Eubanks argues that automated systems that governments across the U.S. use to deliver benefit and welfare programs are often rigged against the very people who need it most.
Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks Source: Eslah Attar

In the fall of 2008, Omega Young got a letter prompting her to recertify for Medicaid.

But she was unable to make the appointment because she was suffering from ovarian cancer. She called her local Indiana office to say she was in the hospital.

Her benefits were cut off anyway. The reason: "failure to cooperate."

"She lost her benefits, she couldn't afford her medication, she lost her food stamps, she couldn't pay her rent, she lost access to free transportation to her medical appointments," Virginia Eubanks tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. Eubanks is the author of a new book, .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
Latinx Voters In Texas Set To Play Key Role In 2020 Election
The Latinx vote is still up for grabs by both parties in Texas. A new report from the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies shows the decisive role this voting bloc could play in the 2020 presidential election. Latinx — a gender
NPR2 min read
Death Toll Climbs After Typhoon Hits Japan
More than 50 people are dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis, which dropped extreme amounts of rain over the weekend and caused catastrophic flooding in residential areas.
NPR4 min read
'The Man Who Saw Everything' Is An Eye-Opening Read
Deborah Levy's new book considers themes of objectification, betrayal and focus, centered on a historian who goes to East Berlin and finds himself both the observer and the observed.