Weapons of Math Destruction

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

Paperback (06 Jul 2017) | English

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Synopsis

New York Times Bestseller

'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year

'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Federica Cocco, Financial Times

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.

About the Publisher

Penguin Books

Penguin Books

The first ten paperback Penguin books appeared in 1935 costing 6d each (the price of a packet of cigarettes). Since then the Penguin list has developed enormously, but still aims to bring the best writing to the widest possible audience. Penguin Paperbacks now range from Booker Prize-winning contemporary authors, to mass market bestsellers, with successful history, biography and general non-fiction as well.

Book information

ISBN: 9780141985411
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 005.7
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 13150
Number of pages: x, 259
Weight: 202g
Height: 197mm
Width: 128mm
Spine width: 19mm