Weapons of math destruction

how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy

Paperback, 259 pages

English language

Published Nov. 16, 2016 by Allen Lane.

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4 stars (12 reviews)

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score …

13 editions

reviewed Weapons of math destruction by Cathy O'Neil

Suit up for Combat!

5 stars

This was an exceptional book. It's not heavy into statistics but gives the rationale for what is a WMD (Weapon of Math Destruction) and WMDs maybe a new term but we have been under the exploitation of WMDs well before we think. It's not a new phenomenon but it is one that we should be aware of.

Take a read and learn how about them so that we can all do better to combat them and use math to not only help describe the world but make it a better place to live in.

Review of 'Weapons of Math Destruction' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This, I think, is one of the most important books I've read this year. For, one cannot expect to grasp even the most sketchy outline of our socio-economic reality if one is not familiar with the now-prevailing currency, namely data.

Computer is good at doing things fast, really fast. So, when it errs, it errs like the flash, resulting a gigantic accumulation of errors. It shouldn't be surprising that big data (a match made between statistics and computer science) with its inbuilt measures of inaccuracies paired with shortcomings in creating mathematical model that sufficiently mirror the reality will create tools of horrible injustice.

However, it is not always easy to notice. Technical difficulties and self-fulfilling feedback loop can deceive us quickly.

However, the writer herself have has been deep in this systems and saw these things closely. With her deep knowledge and a very conscientious mind, she is well equipped …

Review of 'Weapons of math destruction' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A tour through the algorithms that change our lives

The book takes a look at the rise of computer-generated approaches to the flood of personal data being gathered on us daily and takes a hard look at the unintended consequences of relying on them uncritically. The approach is anecdotal rather than scholarly in order to reach a wide audience. The reader does not need to know data science to grasp the ideas presented. In a concluding section, there are some suggestions on how to lessen the ill effects we have seen, and in an afterword a brief discussion of political polling breakdowns in the 2016 election.

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  • Big data
  • Social aspects
  • Human behavior
  • Mathematical models
  • Algorithms
  • Données volumineuses
  • Aspect social
  • Comportement humain
  • Modèles mathématiques
  • Algorithmes