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Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O’Neil

5 mins

3 key insights

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Weapons of Math Destruction is a detailed look at the dark side of data science and how it could impact life as we know it.


Weapons of Math Destruction

Weapons of Math Destruction

by Cathy O’Neil


Data has become the modern world's most valuable asset. But what purposes is all this data being used for, and are all of them actually beneficial?

As a professional mathematician who worked in the financial sector, Cathy O'Neil began to notice the more harmful applications of data science during the 2008 economic crisis. In this book, O'Neil examines the ways that mathematical and statistical models are misused in banking and finance as well as broader uses such as hiring practices.

From the waste of computational capacity for dubious purposes to the way data models disguise and perpetuate human biases, Weapons of Math Destruction is a penetrating look into the algorithms that shape our lives.

Favorite quote

Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal.

- Cathy O'Neil

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