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Unconscious Bias at Work


Enrico Bianco, Megan Smith




Unconscious biases influence our actions every day, even when—by definition—we don’t notice them. These biases are shaped by our experiences and by cultural norms, and allow us to filter information and make quick decisions. We’ve evolved to trust our guts. But sometimes these mental shortcuts can lead us astray, especially when they cause us to misjudge people.


What would the world look like if everybody were aware of the stereotypes that they have and the biases that they have? When we talk about unconscious bias, we're basically saying our worldview can actually exert and influence beyond our conscious awareness, and it creates ambiguity. You go to an engineer who's built something extremely innovative and you say, who do you think your user is?

This is where I have the most fun. My name is Stevie Ramen and I led our work on Android accessibility for three years. Write down everything that you think you know about your user with respect to abilities, inabilities, special abilities, disabilities. Almost every assumption that you write down on that whiteboard about this is the user.

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