Summary of The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End

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Are you the victim of “weapons of math destruction?” Data scientist Cathy O’Neil explains why you likely won’t remain unscathed by biased algorithms. O’Neil urges society to demand more from the companies that design algorithms and to challenge the dangerous myth that algorithms are fair and objective. getAbstract recommends this impassioned, witty talk to data scientists, consumers, employers and employees everywhere.

About the Speaker

Cathy O’Neil is a mathematician, data scientist and advocate for the fair use of big data.



Algorithms are the unseen, pervasive decision makers of the modern world. These hidden formulas rank, sort and distinguish members of society to determine who qualifies for interviews, receives loans or pays higher insurance premiums. People have few means to appeal these decisions, even if the algorithms are flawed. And many algorithms are indeed imperfect. Algorithms consist of two parts: chosen parameters of “success” and historical data. Data scientists specify a desired outcome and train each algorithm to search the data for factors correlated with that outcome. Thus, “algorithms are opinions embedded in code.” ...

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