Weapons of Math Destruction

How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Weapons of Math Destruction (2016, Crown Publishing Group NY, Crown)

hardcover, 272 pages

Published Sept. 6, 2016 by Crown Publishing Group NY, Crown.

ISBN:
9780553418811

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4 stars (7 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 …

7 editions

Soon to feel dated, yet plenty to shock.

4 stars

The misuse of mathematical models to punish mostly the poor through opaque and ubiquitous scoring, built on proxied data and mushy questions without feedback or recourse or oversight. Thorough examples across life, with consequential analysis.

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