Thursday, March 09, 2017

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

More and more of our lives are being ruled by the almighty algorithm. So many of our decisions are taken away and all of our trust is given to mathematical models. These models are supposed to level the playing field and make everyone equal and remove bias, but do they?

In Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O'Neil explores the algorithms and mathematical models she has dubbed WMDs or Weapons of Math Destruction. From case to case she strips the mystery behind the math and explains how the really work (or in most cases abysmally fail us). With each everyday example, O'Niel makes the reader truly think about the value of these "unbiased" models and if they should be continued to be used. This is a great title to make one think about the value of big data without overwhelming the reader with the math behind it.

You can find Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil on the VBPL Catalog. If you enjoyed Weapons of Math Destruction, you may want to try Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian or A Field Guide to Lies by Daniel J. Levitin.

 Review by Michelle L. ChrzanowskiNASA's Scientific and Technical Information Program

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