The power of algorithms and big data as well as the dangers – Weapons of Math Destruction

Oct 16 2016 – Kevin Yaworski – Global Citizen –

Here is two very interesting audio casts about the power of algorithms and big data as well as the dangers.

Including what Facebook doing with your data; Destructive feed back loops that hurt the poor and mentally ill the most and empower the wealthy or privileged.  They are hurting society and destroying lives without most even knowing.

On a side note.  My guess is the this would not be covered by main stream media other than public supported.  We need more information like this to inform the public so they can avoid serious issues or work collectively to address them if our elected and appointed reps ignore them

Weapons of Math Destruction
CBC Spark with Nora Young
Sunday October 16, 2016

More details below

Algorithm awareness
CBC Spark with Nora Young
Sunday September 21, 2014
See more info and link below

Weapons of Math Destruction
CBC Spark with Nora Young
Sunday October 16, 2016

Cathy O’Neil has memories of being a little kid clutching her Rubik’s Cube on her way home from math camp and gazing out the car window to study the numbers on license plates. For her, math was a refuge from the messiness of the real world.

331 cathy o’neil
Mathematician Cathy O’Neil
Today she’s a mathematician, she writes about quantitative issues on her blog, and is the author of a new book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.

Cathy’s on a bit of a crusade against algorithmic math models that she believes create injustice and reinforce discrimination.

“Overall, what big data does, and which it does very well is, it segments our society into winners and losers,” she says “and the losers are the usual suspects: the people who are poor, people who are badly educated, people of colour, people with mental health problems.”

Cathy first realized how the misuse of mathematics could hurt people when she spent some time working in finance. What she witnessed in the global financial crisis in 2008 convinced her we’ve given way too much power to algorithms. Cathy has a theory about why the lessons of 2008 didn’t make us rethink the power we give algorithms in our society.

331 weapons of math destruction cover”I think people just didn’t get the message. They hated the bankers, they looked for the villains in the banking industry, and I don’t really blame them for that,” Cathy says “but one of the things I kept wondering, is why do we invest so much faith and trust now in the algorithms in the world of big data, when we already know that mathematical algorithms could be basically shielding corruption? We should have learned that lesson, but didn’t.”
So how do we change this trajectory we seem to be on? For starters, Cathy believes we need to start thinking about, and teaching, ethics to those in the field of data science.

We’ve covered the power of – and problems with – algorithms quite a bit on Spark. One of the reasons is because of its relationship to the privacy of our data. You may not be doing anything “wrong”, but data about your behaviour can still be used against you.

If you want to learn more about algorithms, privacy, and bias, you can check out these previous Spark stories: Frank Pasquale on The Black Box Society, Suresh Venkatasubramanian on algorithmic bias, Christian Sandvig on algorithm awareness, and Brian Christian on his book Algorithms to Live By (check out the video below!)

Media placeholderPlay Media
How algorithms can help you make decisions1:01

Why is everything so complicated? (Hint: because it is)
Putting the D’oh! in data
Beaver fur inspires design of better surfing wetsuits
Weapons of Math Destruction



Algorithm awareness
CBC Spark with Nora Young
Sunday September 21, 2014

Christian Sandvig says algorithms control almost every aspect of our lives, but most people have no idea how algorithms work.

Christian Sandvig, Karrie G. Karahalios, and Cedric Langbort Look Inside the Facebook News Feed

Algorithm awareness
Twitter algorithms
Mindful multitasking
Data safari
Book Traces


The Dark Side of Data – Ted Talk

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
This entry was posted in Health and wellness, News and politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The power of algorithms and big data as well as the dangers – Weapons of Math Destruction

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