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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
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Crown 2016
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Description
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A former Wall Street quant sounds the alarm on Big Data and the mathematical models that threaten to rip apart our social fabric—with a new afterword

"A manual for the twenty-first-century citizen . . . relevant and urgent."—Financial Times

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review Boston Globe Wired Fortune Kirkus Reviews The Guardian Nature On Point

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, the mathematical models being used today 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 in the process. Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/06/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553418828
ASIN:
B019B6VCLO
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Cathy O'Neil. (2016). Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Cathy O'Neil. 2016. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Cathy O'Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. Crown, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Cathy O'Neil. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. Crown, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Cathy O'Neil is a data scientist and author of the blog Mathbabe.org. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard and taught at Barnard College before moving to the private sector, where she worked for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. She then worked as a data scientist at various start-ups, building models that predict people's purchases and clicks. O'Neil started the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia and is the author of Doing Data Science. She appears weekly on the Slate Money podcast.
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title
Weapons of Math Destruction
fullDescription
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A former Wall Street quant sounds the alarm on Big Data and the mathematical models that threaten to rip apart our social fabric—with a new afterword

"A manual for the twenty-first-century citizen . . . relevant and urgent."—Financial Times

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review Boston Globe Wired Fortune Kirkus Reviews The Guardian Nature On Point

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, the mathematical models being used today 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 in the process. Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: "O'Neil's book offers a frightening look at how algorithms are increasingly regulating people... Her knowledge of the power and risks of mathematical models, coupled with a gift for analogy, makes her one of the most valuable observers of the continuing weaponization of big data... [She] does a masterly job explaining the pervasiveness and risks of the algorithms that regulate our lives."
      • premium: False
      • source: Reuters
      • content: "Weapons of Math Destruction is the Big Data story Silicon Valley proponents won't tell.... [It] pithily exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics.... a thought-provoking read for anyone inclined to believe that data doesn't lie."
      • premium: False
      • source: Scientific American
      • content: "O'Neil is an ideal person to write this book. She is an academic mathematician turned Wall Street quant turned data scientist who has been involved in Occupy Wall Street and recently started an algorithmic auditing company. She is one of the strongest voices speaking out for limiting the ways we allow algorithms to influence our lives... While Weapons of Math Destruction is full of hard truths and grim statistics, it is also accessible and even entertaining. O'Neil's writing is direct and easy to read--I devoured it in an afternoon."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 13, 2016
        This taut and accessible volume, the stuff of technophobes’ nightmares, explores the myriad ways in which large-scale data modeling has made the world a less just and equal place. O’Neil speaks from a place of authority on the subject: a Barnard professor turned Wall Street quant, she renounced the latter profession after the 2008 market collapse and decided to educate laypeople. Unlike some other recent books about data collection, hers is not hysterical; she offers more of a chilly wake-up call as she walks readers through the ways the “big data” industry has facilitated social ills such as skyrocketing college tuitions, policing based on racial profiling, and high unemployment rates in vulnerable communities. She also homes in on the ways these systems are frequently destructive even to the privileged: sloppy data-gathering companies misidentify people and flag them as criminals, and algorithms determine employee value during company-wide firings. The final chapter, in which O’Neil discusses Facebook’s increasing electoral influence, feels eerily prescient. She offers no one easy solution, but has several reasonable suggestions as to how the future can be made more equitable and transparent for all. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2016

        As mathematical models affect more and more aspects of our lives, it is crucial to understand that algorithms are not neutral, free from human prejudice and fallibility; instead, those biases and failings are encoded into the systems. Data scientist O'Neil, who blogs at mathbabe.org, explores this premise in depth and chillingly describes the extent to which data-driven, algorithm-based decision making in such areas as hiring, policing, lending, education, and health care actually increases inequality. With barely contained exasperation, O'Neil chronicles the way these "weapons of math destruction"--opaque and unregulated--shape all lives, and, especially, those of the poor. More than just sounding the clarion call to action, O'Neil seeks to empower her readers to ask questions about the algorithms and to demand change. Though the subject matter is alarming and dire, O'Neil's dry wit and ease when describing complicated ideas is more enlivening than depressing. VERDICT This important book will be eye-opening to many readers, possibly even those involved with the kind of models O'Neil criticizes.--Rachel Bridgewater, Portland Community Coll. Lib., OR

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A former Wall Street quant sounds the alarm on Big Data and the mathematical models that threaten to rip apart our social fabric—with a new afterword

"A manual for the twenty-first-century citizen . . . relevant and urgent."—Financial Times

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review Boston Globe Wired Fortune Kirkus Reviews The Guardian Nature On Point

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.
...
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