Cathy O’Neil on Algorithms as Harmful Weapons of Math Destruction

Secretly held and designed algorithms have a large power over our lives and work opportunities and are becoming a form of nefarious power that big corporations hold over us. Moreover, as Cathy O’Neil shows in this presentation, they often incorporate human biases. What can we do to resist ? Find out here.

From the shownotes to the video:

Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance and much more — but they don’t automatically make things fair. Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.

About Cathy O’Neil

Why you should listen

In 2008, as a hedge-fund quant, mathematician Cathy O’Neil saw firsthand how really really bad math could lead to financial disaster. Disillusioned, O’Neil became a data scientist and eventually joined Occupy Wall Street’s Alternative Banking Group.

With her popular blog mathbabe.org, O’Neil emerged as an investigative journalist. Her acclaimed book Weapons of Math Destruction details how opaque, black-box algorithms rely on biased historical data to do everything from sentence defendants to hire workers. In 2017, O’Neil founded consulting firm ORCAA to audit algorithms for racial, gender and economic inequality.

What others say

“When there is wrongdoing in fields that are both complex and opaque, it often takes a whistle-blower to inform the public. That’s exactly what former quant trader turned social activist Cathy O’Neil has become for the world of Big Data.” — Time, August 29, 2016

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