Weapons of Math Destruction

How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Paperback, 288 pages

English language

Published Sept. 5, 2017 by Broadway Books.

ISBN:
9780553418835

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4 stars (10 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 car loan, how much we pay for health 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.

But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of …

9 editions

A little bit lengthy but an interesting and necessary read

4 stars

The book "Weapons of Math Destructions" paints an alarming image of data science in our day and age. The author shows how our life is dominated by opaque algorithms that decide about things like mortgages or insurances. These algorithms are often not only flawed but biased against certain groups of people. But the author does not end her book on a negative note. She shows examples of algorithms used for making the life of people better and she also discusses ways to make algorithms more ethical.

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