Some medical devices don’t mean to be racist, but they are
How racism creeps into inanimate objects. A recent study showed that fingertip pulse oximeters "significantly overestimate the level of blood oxygen in Black patients in real-world conditions." For those suffering from COVID-19, this could be a matter of life or death. Philosophy professors Vanessa Carbonell and Shen-yi Liao reveal how a form of benign oppression can be built into anything. "Oppressive things are not merely things that happen to be biased against some class of users. They must be both a downstream consequence of injustice toward an oppressed group, and an upstream antecedent of further injustices. Their biases are congruent with oppression. That pulse oximeters don’t work as well for darker-skinned patients might not have been intentional, but it is by no means accidental."