"A former Wall Street quantitative analyst sounds an alarm on mathematical modeling, a pervasive new force in society that threatens to undermine democracy and widen inequality,"--NoveList.
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 — and 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, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and 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, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and 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 and as a society. These “weapons of math destruction” score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O’Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and 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, and demand change. — Longlist for National Book Award (Non-Fiction) — Goodreads, semi-finalist for the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards (Science and Technology) — Kirkus, Best Books of 2016 — New York Times, 100 Notable Books of 2016 (Non-Fiction) — The Guardian, Best Books of 2016 — WBUR's "On Point," Best Books of 2016: Staff Picks — Boston Globe, Best Books of 2016, Non-Fiction
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and 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 loan, how much we pay for 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, and bias is eliminated. And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and 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, and demand change.
Now that people are aware that data can make the difference in an election or a business model, data science as an occupation is gaining ground. But how can you get started working in a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary field that’s so clouded in hype? This insightful book, based on Columbia University’s Introduction to Data Science class, tells you what you need to know. In many of these chapter-long lectures, data scientists from companies such as Google, Microsoft, and eBay share new algorithms, methods, and models by presenting case studies and the code they use. If you’re familiar with linear algebra, probability, and statistics, and have programming experience, this book is an ideal introduction to data science. Topics include: Statistical inference, exploratory data analysis, and the data science process Algorithms Spam filters, Naive Bayes, and data wrangling Logistic regression Financial modeling Recommendation engines and causality Data visualization Social networks and data journalism Data engineering, MapReduce, Pregel, and Hadoop Doing Data Science is collaboration between course instructor Rachel Schutt, Senior VP of Data Science at News Corp, and data science consultant Cathy O’Neil, a senior data scientist at Johnson Research Labs, who attended and blogged about the course.
"Data is here, it's growing, and it's powerful." Author Cathy O'Neil argues that the right approach to data is skeptical, not cynical––it understands that, while powerful, data science tools often fail. Data is nuanced, and "a really excellent skeptic puts the term 'science' into 'data science.'" The big data revolution shouldn't be dismissed as hype, but current data science tools and models shouldn't be hailed as the end-all-be-all, either.
A new way of thinking about data science and data ethics that is informed by the ideas of intersectional feminism. Today, data science is a form of power. It has been used to expose injustice, improve health outcomes, and topple governments. But it has also been used to discriminate, police, and surveil. This potential for good, on the one hand, and harm, on the other, makes it essential to ask: Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind? The narratives around big data and data science are overwhelmingly white, male, and techno-heroic. In Data Feminism, Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren Klein present a new way of thinking about data science and data ethics—one that is informed by intersectional feminist thought. Illustrating data feminism in action, D'Ignazio and Klein show how challenges to the male/female binary can help challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems. They explain how, for example, an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization, and how the concept of invisible labor can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems. And they show why the data never, ever “speak for themselves.” Data Feminism offers strategies for data scientists seeking to learn how feminism can help them work toward justice, and for feminists who want to focus their efforts on the growing field of data science. But Data Feminism is about much more than gender. It is about power, about who has it and who doesn't, and about how those differentials of power can be challenged and changed.
"Mesmerizing & fascinating..." —The Seattle Post-Intelligencer "The Freakonomics of big data." —Stein Kretsinger, founding executive of Advertising.com Award-winning | Used by over 30 universities | Translated into 9 languages An introduction for everyone. In this rich, fascinating — surprisingly accessible — introduction, leading expert Eric Siegel reveals how predictive analytics (aka machine learning) works, and how it affects everyone every day. Rather than a “how to” for hands-on techies, the book serves lay readers and experts alike by covering new case studies and the latest state-of-the-art techniques. Prediction is booming. It reinvents industries and runs the world. Companies, governments, law enforcement, hospitals, and universities are seizing upon the power. These institutions predict whether you're going to click, buy, lie, or die. Why? For good reason: predicting human behavior combats risk, boosts sales, fortifies healthcare, streamlines manufacturing, conquers spam, optimizes social networks, toughens crime fighting, and wins elections. How? Prediction is powered by the world's most potent, flourishing unnatural resource: data. Accumulated in large part as the by-product of routine tasks, data is the unsalted, flavorless residue deposited en masse as organizations churn away. Surprise! This heap of refuse is a gold mine. Big data embodies an extraordinary wealth of experience from which to learn. Predictive analytics (aka machine learning) unleashes the power of data. With this technology, the computer literally learns from data how to predict the future behavior of individuals. Perfect prediction is not possible, but putting odds on the future drives millions of decisions more effectively, determining whom to call, mail, investigate, incarcerate, set up on a date, or medicate. In this lucid, captivating introduction — now in its Revised and Updated edition — former Columbia University professor and Predictive Analytics World founder Eric Siegel reveals the power and perils of prediction: What type of mortgage risk Chase Bank predicted before the recession. Predicting which people will drop out of school, cancel a subscription, or get divorced before they even know it themselves. Why early retirement predicts a shorter life expectancy and vegetarians miss fewer flights. Five reasons why organizations predict death — including one health insurance company. How U.S. Bank and Obama for America calculated the way to most strongly persuade each individual. Why the NSA wants all your data: machine learning supercomputers to fight terrorism. How IBM's Watson computer used predictive modeling to answer questions and beat the human champs on TV's Jeopardy! How companies ascertain untold, private truths — how Target figures out you're pregnant and Hewlett-Packard deduces you're about to quit your job. How judges and parole boards rely on crime-predicting computers to decide how long convicts remain in prison. 182 examples from Airbnb, the BBC, Citibank, ConEd, Facebook, Ford, Google, the IRS, LinkedIn, Match.com, MTV, Netflix, PayPal, Pfizer, Spotify, Uber, UPS, Wikipedia, and more. How does predictive analytics work? This jam-packed book satisfies by demystifying the intriguing science under the hood. For future hands-on practitioners pursuing a career in the field, it sets a strong foundation, delivers the prerequisite knowledge, and whets your appetite for more. A truly omnipresent science, predictive analytics constantly affects our daily lives. Whether you are a consumer of it — or consumed by it — get a handle on the power of Predictive Analytics.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR A NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 'This book is about a whole new way of studying the mind ... Endlessly fascinating' Steven Pinker 'A whirlwind tour of the modern human psyche' Economist Everybody lies, to friends, lovers, doctors, pollsters – and to themselves. In Internet searches, however, people confess the truth. Insightful, funny and always surprising, Everybody Lies explores how this huge collection of data, unprecedented in human history, could just be the most important ever collected. It offers astonishing insights into the human psyche, revealing the biases deeply embedded within us, the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our well-being, and the information we can use to change our culture for the better.
A clear-eyed guide to demagoguery—and how we can defeat it What is demagoguery? Some demagogues are easy to spot: They rise to power through pandering, charisma, and prejudice. But, as professor Patricia Roberts-Miller explains, a demagogue is anyone who reduces all questions to us vs. them. Why is it dangerous? Demagoguery is democracy’s greatest threat. It erodes rational debate, so that intelligent policymaking grinds to a halt. The idea that we never fall for it—that all the blame lies with them—is equally dangerous. How can we stop it? Demagogues follow predictable patterns in what they say and do to gain power. The key to resisting demagoguery is to name it when you see it—and to know where it leads.
How free-market fundamentalists have shifted the focus of higher education to competition, metrics, consumer demand, and return on investment, and why we should change this.