Share with your friends










Submit

Analytics Magazine

Inside story: Weapons of mass instruction

Cathy O’Neil’s provocative book, “Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy,” created quite a stir in the analytics community when it was released last fall. In the book, O’Neil, a data scientist who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard, explores the dark side of big data and data science, including the fairness, power and risks of mathematical models and their potential negative impact.

In its review, The New York Times wrote that “O’Neil’s book offers a frightening look at how algorithms are increasingly regulating people,” while Reuters opined that the book “… 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.”

For its part, Amazon described the book as follows: “A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life – and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.” Yikes!

In this issue of Analytics magazine, we offer two more viewpoints on O’Neil’s book from a couple of fellow quants: Vijay Mehrotra and Eric Siegel. Vijay is perhaps best known to readers of Analytics magazine as the author of the popular “Analyze This!” column, while Eric is a household name in the worldwide analytics community as the founder of the Predictive Analytics World series of conferences. Both are educators (Vijay as a professor at the University of San Francisco, Eric as a former instructor at Columbia University), both are entrepreneurs (Vijay with multiple high-tech start-ups and angel funding, Eric with PAW and other initiatives), both are accomplished authors and speakers, both have incredible knowledge and passion of and for high-end analytics, and both enthusiastically recommend “Weapons of Math Destruction” – but for somewhat different reasons.

As educators, Vijay and Eric’s commentary offers instructive insight on not just “Weapons of Math Destruction,” but also on the state of analytics, and the challenges and ethics issues all of those involved in the profession now face.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not yet read “Weapons of Math Destruction,” but I’m looking forward to doing so, and Vijay has offered to send me his copy. In the meantime, I highly recommend you read both Vijay’s Analyze This! column and Eric’s Viewpoint article in this issue of Analytics.

Analytics data science news articles

Related Posts

  • 86
    Eric Siegel, founder of Predictive Analytics World (PAW, a series of conferences held throughout the year in major U.S. and European cites) and the author of the new book, “Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict who will Click, Buy, Lie or Die,” is without question a key player in the…
    Tags: analytics, predictive, data, book
  • 70
    By Eric Siegel Note: This article is excerpted from Eric Siegel’s foreword to the recently released book, “Mining Your Own Business: A Primer for Executives on Understanding and Employing Data Mining and Predictive Analytics,” by Jeff Deal and Gerhard Pilcher. For predictive analytics to work, two different species must cooperate…
    Tags: predictive, data, analytics, book
  • 69
    Data can appear lifeless and dull on the surface – especially government data – but the thought of it should actually get you excited. Data is a very interesting and powerful thing. First off, data is exactly the stuff we bother to write down – and for good reason. But…
    Tags: data, predictive, analytics
  • 68
    Hewlett-Packard (HP) knows there are two sides to every coin. The company has achieved new power by predicting employee behavior, a profitable practice that may raise eyebrows among some of its staff. HP tags its more than 330,000 workers with a so-called Flight Risk score. This simple number foretells whether…
    Tags: predictive, analytics, data
  • 65
    FEATURES ABM and predictive lead scoring Account-based marketing, and the related technology of predictive lead scoring, is dramatically changing the face of sales and marketing. By Megan Lueders Software survey: joys, perils of statistics Trends, developments and what the past year of sports and politics taught us about variability and…
    Tags: analytics, predictive, story, data, analyze, eric, book, provocative, neil, cathy


Headlines

Meet CIMON, the first AI-powered astronaut assistant

CIMON, the world’s first artificial intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, made its debut aboard the International Space Station. The ISS’s newest crew member, developed and built in Germany, was called into action on Nov. 15 with the command, “Wake up, CIMON!,” by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been living and working on the ISS since June 8. Read more →

Yale research on immigration, aging runners makes news

A recent study by Yale University professor and former INFORMS President Edward H. Kaplan (photo) and Yale colleague Jonathan Feinstein and Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi of MIT suggests that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States is nearly twice as many as experts previously thought. Since its publication last month, the study, which estimates the number of such immigrants at 22.1 million instead of 11.3 million, has garnered worldwide attention from major media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Fox News, Bloomberg News and the Daily Mail. Read more →

New salary survey paints optimistic picture for analytics professionals

Harnham, a global leader in data and analytics recruitment, recently released the 2018 editions of its salary guides for the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe. Having heard from thousands of data and analytics professionals across the globe, Harnham has gained an invaluable insight into key industry salaries and trends across a wide variety of analytics specialties and sectors. Read more →

UPCOMING ANALYTICS EVENTS

INFORMS-SPONSORED EVENTS

Winter Simulation Conference
Dec. 9-12, 2018, Gothenburg, Sweden

INFORMS Computing Society Conference
Jan. 6-8, 2019; Knoxville, Tenn.

INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
April 14-16, 2019; Austin, Texas

INFORMS International Conference
June 9-12, 2019; Cancun, Mexico

INFORMS Marketing Science Conference
June 20-22; Rome, Italy

INFORMS Applied Probability Conference
July 2-4, 2019; Brisbane, Australia

INFORMS Healthcare Conference
July 27-29, 2019; Boston, Mass.

2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting
Oct. 20-23, 2019; Seattle, Wash.

Winter Simulation Conference
Dec. 8-11, 2019: National Harbor, Md.

OTHER EVENTS

Applied AI & Machine Learning | Comprehensive
Dec. 3, 2018 (live online)


Advancing the Analytics-Driven Organization
Jan. 28–31, 2019, 1 p.m.– 5 p.m. (live online)

CAP® EXAM SCHEDULE

CAP® Exam computer-based testing sites are available in 700 locations worldwide. Take the exam close to home and on your schedule:


 
For more information, go to 
https://www.certifiedanalytics.org.