On this blog, we usually focus on what we can do on a daily and personal basis to improve our overall quality of life and financial well being, using the culture of Old Money as a guide.
Every once in a while, I feel it necessary to address things outside our own sphere of influence that impact our financial well being.
Cathy O’Neil’s book ‘Weapons of Math Destruction‘ tackles an often opaque and confusing realm referred to as Big Data. Nevertheless, it is an accessible and captivating read. Specifically, she discusses the algorithm. Just what it is and how it affects our daily lives comes into sharp–and sometimes quite disconcerting–focus.
Kathy is a data scientist and mathematician, but her prose is clear and compelling. She discusses her experience and research into the computer programs (for lack of a better term) that directly impact how much we pay for health insurance, if we get a loan or a job, how our public officials respond to issues, and so many other things.
These algorithms are at present unregulated and incontestable. Despite the assumption that ‘if a machine does it, it’s more fair than if a person does it’, these arbiters of so much of our financial possibilities are far from accurate or just.
It’s a little off the beaten path for us, theme-wise, but I think it’s a worthwhile read. I’m inherently suspicious of technology. It’s convenient, but it quickly becomes presumptive, acting like it knows what I want better than I do. This book does nothing to dispel my distrust.
If you have time, take a read. If you’ve already read the book, I’d love to hear comments. Thanks.