In a time when most jobs require an advanced degree, and there is no guarantee that one will pan out, we must compete with algorithms. Worse yet, O’Neil shows that many of these algorithms aren’t just biased; they’re intentionally designed to keep us poor, uneducated, and desperate.
This book is about a cognitive arms race. It describes in chilling detail how tech companies and their investors use a standard set of techniques to harness irrational human emotions—fear, greed, confirmation bias, groupthink—to sell us stuff we don’t need. Then it reveals how this voodoo math affects our children’s education, careers, health care providers, even the backbone of our democracy: our vote-counting algorithm.”
Informative, entertaining, and fast-paced, Weapons of Math Destruction is a public service manifesto by award-winning statistician Cathy O’Neil that reveals the startling truth about the impact of our mathematical algorithms on everything from employment discrimination to mortgage lending.
In a riveting study of the history, economics, and sociology of algorithms and data, Cathy O’Neil propels us into an era when checking our email can burden us with the decisions that affect our lives. At once a fascinating account of her own experiences at Microsoft and a penetrating analysis of big-data monopolies and unintended consequences of software development, Weapons of Math Destruction is an eye-opening warning about where technology is taking us and a fascinating look at some of its most intriguing players.
About Weapons of Math Destruction Book
We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives–where we go to school, whether we can get a job or a loan, how much we pay for health insurance–are being made not by humans but by machines. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules.
But as mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil reveals, today’s mathematical models are unregulated and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination–propping up the lucky, punishing the downtrodden, and undermining our democracy.