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Weapons of math destruction

005.7 ONe

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Weapons of math destruction : how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy

O'Neil, Cathy, author.

New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]

x, 259 pages ; 22 cm

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.


Non-fiction - JH & HSNon-fiction - JH & HS

1 copy available at Paideia School


9780553418811 (hardcover)


9780553418835 (pbk.)

LC Call No:

QA76.9.B45 O64 2016

Dewey Class No:

005.7 23


O'Neil, Cathy, author.


Weapons of math destruction : how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy / Cathy O'Neil.


First edition.


x, 259 pages ; 22 cm


text txt rdacontent


unmediated n rdamedia


volume nc rdacarrier


Includes bibliographical references and index.


Big data--Social aspects--United States.


Big data--Political aspects--United States.


Social indicators--Mathematical models--Moral and ethical aspects.


Democracy--United States.

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020 ISBN   $a ISBN  9780553418835 (pbk.)
035 System Ctrl No   $a System control number  (DLC) 2016003900
040 Cataloging Src   $a Original cataloging agency  DLC
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250 Edition   $a Edition statement  First edition.
264 ProductnNotice $a Place of prod/dist/manuf.  New York :
    $b Name of prod./pub./dist./man.  Crown Publishers,
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650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Big data
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    $z Geographic subdivision  United States.
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    $x General subdivision  Political aspects
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650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Social indicators
    $x General subdivision  Mathematical models
    $x General subdivision  Moral and ethical aspects.
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651 Subj:Geog $a Geographic name  United States
    $x General subdivision  Social conditions
    $y Chronological subdivision  21st century.
776 08  $i   Online version:
    $a   O'Neil, Cathy, author.
    $t   Weapons of math destruction
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    $d   New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]
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852 Holdings 1   $h Classification part  005.7 ONe
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    $9 Cost  $26.00
    $a Location  PS

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