The hand-wringing continues about robots, and for whose jobs they’re coming next. But the “robots” needn’t be tangible to transform our lives. Actually, they’re already here, in the form of big data algorithms – predictive mathematical models fueled by astounding computing power and endless supplies of data.
This doesn’t have to be ominous. Well-designed models, properly applied, are a beautiful thing. But some models are toxic, and such bad modeling has become ubiquitous, with far-reaching impacts on where we go to school; how we get a job and how we’re evaluated; how we get and maintain financial credit and insurance; what information we access online; how we participate in elections and civic life; and how we are treated by law enforcement and the judicial system. That’s why Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction is such an important book for our time. Continue Reading Big data gone bad: Weapons of Math Destruction