Why Big Data Could Be Big Trouble

big dataEqual parts mathematician and political activist, Cathy O’Neil has calculated the impact of algorithms on society. For the most part, she says, big data adds up to big trouble.

When it comes to human activities, algorithms are expected to be models of objectivity, owing to their basis in mathematical formulae and reliance on enormous quantities of measured facts about a given general population, whether students or teachers, job applicants or criminal defendants.

Cathy O’Neil makes the case that real-world mathematical models are anything but objective. In her new book, Weapons of Math Destruction, she asserts that big data WMDs are opaque, unaccountable and destructive and that they essentially act as unwritten and unpublished secret laws. Weapons of Math Destruction was long-listed for a National Book Award in nonfiction and was published in September, 2016, to enthusiastic reviews from the likes of Clay Shirky and Cory Doctorow.

Much more.

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