With Melalogic, a widower and Mozilla Awardee avenges his wife’s death by defeating cancer in others.
There’s a range of technology and data that can help with skin health — that is, if your skin is white.
Black patients, however, rely on diagnostic AI, medical research, and other healthcare tools that are informed by data about white skin. As a result, survival outcomes for skin issues like Melanoma are lower for Black patients.
Today, a new project by technologist and Mozilla Creative Media Awardee Avery Smith titled Melalogic seeks to fix this life-threatening problem that has been ignored by the medical community.
Smith’s motivation for creating Melalogic was a personal tragedy: December 9, 2021 is the 10-year anniversary of his wife, LaToya, passing away from melanoma.
“Melalogic is a way to honor my wife by giving Black people a single source of skin health information from professionals that look like them,” says Smith. “My goal is to empower our community to be our own health advocates and for Melalogic to play a role in ending the racial disparities in skin health that have put Black people at enormous risk.”
My goal is for Melalogic to play a role in ending the racial disparities in skin health that have put Black people at enormous risk.
Avery Smith, Mozilla Creative Media Awardee
Melalogic is a skin care website specifically designed for and by Black users. Users can submit images of skin conditions and receive suggestions for remedies, treatments and other solutions from Black skin care professionals. And over time, Melalogic will use this image data to train a diagnostic AI especially calibrated for Black skin.
Melalogic features a community of Black doctors and other skincare professionals who respond directly to users. It also includes a directory of Black dermatologists nationwide, searchable by location. Additionally, the website entails a series of medical illustrations that use Black subjects — a rarity for medical drawings. All Melalogic content is created by Dr. Chesahna Kindred of the Kindred Hair & Skin Center and certified medical illustrator Hillary D. Wilson.
Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards are part of our mission to realize more trustworthy AI. The awards fuel the people on the front lines of the internet health movement — from documentary filmmakers, to engineers, to activists.
The latest cohort of Awardees are all Black artists who spotlight how AI can reinforce — or disrupt — systems of oppression. The AI systems in our everyday lives can perpetuate and amplify biases that have long existed offline: Recommendation algorithms promote racist messages. Facial recognition systems misidentify Black faces. And voice assistants like Alexa and Siri struggle to understand Black voices. As the AI in consumer technology grows more sophisticated and prevalent, problems like these will grow even more complex.