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With Cathy O'Neil (Columnist, Bloomberg View).
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 06:00 PM    Cost: $20
Grand Central Tech, 335 Madison Ave, 4th Fl


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An intimate author's series & book talk featuring some of Penguin Random House's most influential writers. Come to engage with some of the world's leading storytellers, change-agents, & big picture thinkers as they discuss their latest work & lead insightful & provocative conversations. Together, we want to empower our local community to gather around topics & issues that matter.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality & Threatens Democracy

Longlisted for the National Book Award | New York Times Bestseller

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life & threaten to rip apart our social fabric.

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives-where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance-are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, & bias is eliminated.

But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent & necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, & uncontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, & a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky & punishing the downtrodden, creating a toxic cocktail for democracy. Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.

Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals & as a society. These weapons of math destruction score teachers & students, sort rsums, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, & monitor our health.

O'Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms & on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, & demand change.
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