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Open source search engines give users more control over their online experience.


Justice Area(s)

Community Health and Collective Security

AI Impact(s)

Monopoly and Centralization

Public Interest Tech





There have been alternative search engines that do their own web crawl for a while, but as Google's search gets less efficient and it gets cheaper to create AI generated content, they are becoming more relevant. Because they are not proprietary, these alternatives to commercial search engines let users bypass restrictive policies and licensing fees, and researchers say that "open source search engines provide an excellent way and material for people to learn, study and master search technology."

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Related Issues by Justice Area

Issue 2023

AI could be used to better meet the needs of the disabled, but there are currently many instances where it actively works against the disabled community.

In 2023, researchers at Pennsylvania State University published “Automated Ableism: An Exploration of Explicit Disability Biases in Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) Sentiment and Toxicity Analysis Models,” which explores the bias embedded in several natural language processing (NLP) algorithms and models. They found that every single public model they tested “exhibited significant bias against disability,” classifying sentences as negative and toxic simply because they contained references to disability, ignoring context and the actual lived experiences of disabled people.

Community Health and Collective Security Disability Justice
Issue 2017

AI systems reflect the culture's bias against the disabled.

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States uses an AI system that residents allege incorrectly flags disabled parents as being neglectful, removing their children from their homes with no actual evidence of neglect. It is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Justice.

Community Health and Collective Security Disability Justice Human Rights
Issue 2023

Medicare Advantage insurance plans use AI to determine what care it will cover for its 31 million elderly subscribers in the United States.

Journalists at Stat found that companies are specifically using AI systems to deny coverage for care. The massive problem: the algorithms are a black box that can’t be peered into, making it nearly impossible for patients to fight for health care coverage when they don’t know why they were denied it in the first place.

Community Health and Collective Security Disability Justice Economic Justice
Issue 2023

Organizations like Te Hiku Media raise concerns about Big Tech using their data to train systems like WhisperAI, "a speech recognition model trained on 680,000 hours of audio taken from the web."

The world's extensive history of colonization and its harm are clear as activists fight for Indigenous data sovereignty, saying "the way in which Whisper was created goes against everything we stand for. It's an unethical approach to data extraction and it disregards the harm that can be done by open sourcing multilingual models like these." They remind the industry that "when someone who doesn't have a stake in the language attempts to provide language services, they often do more harm than good." Ultimately, organizers want other tech orgs to follow their lead: "We respect data in that we look after it rather than claim ownership over it. This is similar to how Indigenous peoples look after land. We only use data in ways that align with our core values as an Indigenous organization and in ways that benefit the communities from which the data was gathered."

Community Health and Collective Security Racial Justice

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