What's in a name? Perhaps more information than you might expect.
Gender and often race can usually be inferred when given only a first name. Unfortunately this has been the topic of much discussion of late in the world of ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber. A recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that those riders with more traditionally "black-sounding" names could expect longer waiting times and a higher cancellation rate on their rides.
A spokeswoman for Uber, Rachel Holt, had this to say about the findings:
"We believe Uber is helping reduce transportation inequities across the board, but studies like this one are helpful in thinking about how we can do even more."
So what more can we be doing? Will eliminating the names and pictures of potential clients of these ride services actually solve the problem? I happen to think the work we need to do as a society goes far deeper.