Abbey's Bookshop Logo
Go to my checkout basket
Login to Abbey's Bookshop
Register with Abbey's Bookshop
Gift Vouchers
Browse by Category

facebook
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil at Abbey's Bookshop,

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

Cathy O'Neil


9780241296813

Allen Lane


Political structures: democracy;
Economic statistics;
Mathematics & Sciences;
Impact of science & technology on society;
Algorithms & data structures


Paperback

272 pages

$32.99
In stock
Ready to ship
order qty:  
Add this item to my basket

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

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 judged according to the same rules, with bias eliminated.

And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true.

The models 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.

By:   Cathy O'Neil
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   292g
ISBN:   9780241296813
ISBN 10:   0241296811
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   November 2016
Audience:   College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Cathy O'Neil is a data scientist and author of the blog mathbabe.org. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard and taught at Barnard College before moving to the private sector, where she worked for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw. She then worked as a data scientist at various start-ups, building models that predict people's purchases and clicks. O'Neil started the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia and is the author of Doing Data Science. She appears weekly on the Slate Money podcast.


Cathy O'Neil has seen Big Data from the inside, and the picture isn't pretty. Weapons of Math Destruction opens the curtain on algorithms that exploit people and distort the truth while posing as neutral mathematical tools. This book is wise, fierce, and desperately necessary -- Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not To Be Wrong Even as a professional mathematician, I had no idea how insidious Big Data could be until I read Weapons of Math Destruction. Though terrifying, it's a surprisingly fun read: O'Neil's vision of a world run by algorithms is laced with dark humour and exasperation - like a modern-day Dr Strangelove or Catch-22. It is eye-opening, disturbing, and deeply important -- Steven Strogatz, Cornell University, author of The Joy of x Weapons of Math Destruction is a fantastic, plainspoken call to arms. Cathy O'Neil's book is important precisely because she believes in data science. It's a vital crash course in why we must interrogate the systems around us and demand better -- Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and co-editor of Boing Boing In this fascinating account, Cathy O'Neil leverages her expertise in mathematics and her passion for social justice to poke holes in the triumphant narrative of Big Data. She makes a compelling case that math is being used to squeeze marginalized segments of society and magnify inequities. Her analysis is superb, her writing is enticing, and her findings are unsettling -- danah boyd, founder of Data & Society and author of It's Complicated Next time you hear someone gushing uncritically about the wonders of Big Data, show them Weapons of Math Destruction. It'll be salutary -- Felix Salmon, Fusion Weapons of Math Destruction is the Big Data story Silicon Valley proponents won't tell... [It] pithily exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics... A thought-provoking read for anyone inclined to believe that data doesn't lie Reuters O'Neil is an ideal person to write this book... She is one of the strongest voices speaking out for limiting the ways we allow algorithms to influence our lives and against the notion that an algorithm, because it is implemented by an unemotional machine, cannot perpetrate bias or injustice... While Weapons of Math Destruction is full of hard truths and grim statistics, it is also accessible and even entertaining. O'Neil's writing is direct and easy to read - I devoured it in an afternoon -- Evelyn Lamb Scientific American

Your cart does not contain any items.