Curious Saturday: The era of blind faith in big data must end

December 23, 2023
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Curious Saturday: The era of blind faith in big data must end

Algorithms, those powerful decision-makers that determine loan approvals, job interviews, and insurance coverage, may not always guarantee fairness. Renowned mathematician and data scientist, Cathy O’Neil, has brilliantly coined the term “weapons of math destruction” to describe algorithms that are secretive, influential, and harmful. Prepare to uncover the concealed motives lurking behind these seemingly neutral formulas.

Creating an algorithm requires two essential components: historical data and a definition of success. By scrutinizing the past, we can train algorithms to identify patterns associated with triumph. Intriguingly, algorithms are not exclusive to computer code; we all employ them in our daily lives. For instance, even when preparing a meal for my family, I rely on an algorithm of sorts. I consider the ingredients available, the time I have, and my culinary aspirations. However, I don’t consider those measly packages of ramen noodles as genuine sustenance.

Join Cathy O’Neil as she enlightens us on why our blind faith in big data must come to an end. Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/cathy_o_neil_the_era_of_blind_faith_in_big_data_must_end

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