How Algorithms Rule Our Working Lives

How Algorithms Rule Our Working Lives

The Guardian, 2016

Editorial Rating



Companies regularly extract information from social media and personality tests before hiring new employees. Computer algorithms use the information to decide who companies should or shouldn’t hire. Math blogger Cathy O’Neil tackles the rise of algorithmic software and explores the dangerous implications of branding this new “pseudoscience” as “scientific.” She balances the benefits of efficiency and perceived objectivity to companies with the flaws and unethical nature of such algorithms. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening challenge to human resources officers and job seekers.


When Kyle Behm, an Ivy League educated and capable young man, applied for an entry-level job at a supermarket, he was sure he’d get the job. So, when he found out his application had been turned down, it came as a shock. A friend who worked at the supermarket found out that Kyle had been “red-lighted” because of a personality test he took as part of the application process. Today, personality quizzes for job applicants are commonplace. Programs mine candidates’ social media and financial data for red flags. Software has become the judge, jury and executioner for many...

About the Author

Cathy O’Neil blogs at and is the author of several books, including Weapons of Math Destruction.

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