Weapons of Math Destruction

This book, written by a PHD mathematician who has worked as a maths professor, Wall Street quant and data scientist (in other words someone who knows what she is talking about) is essential reading (in my opinion) for contemporary humans.

The book explains the biases built into big data and the resulting inequality and  damage caused by highly functional algorithms that have been programmed by fallible humans. In other words, how small judgment errors, when scaled into corporate — or even national — decision making systems can turn into a wholesale “computer says no” nightmare for the humans who’s lives are controlled by the output data.

It explores how quantifying humans with big data is a questionable “art” rather than hard science, and that using quantifiable data to make decisions about flesh and blood humans can have serious unintended consequences, for individuals and society at large.

In a world where you can be fired by an algorithm, denied a job becuase of your credit score, or be flagged as a terrorist by the FBI because of the Facebook posts you like, it’s worth your time to understand the real world implications of big data.

 

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