Bad Algorithms & The Ethical Matrix
Algorithms can embed bias, they can propagate or even exacerbate inequality, or they can just be plain inaccurate. How do we keep track of all the potential problems? How do we make sure the algorithms we build "work well"? What do we even mean by that? In this talk Cathy O'Neil will introduce the ethical matrix, a construction borrowed from moral philosophy, as a way of organizing our thoughts around important and urgent questions like these.
Cathy O’Neil is the author of the New York Times best-selling Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which was also a semifinalist for the National Book Award. She is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and founded the company ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.
She earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoctoral fellow in the MIT math department, and was a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quantitative analyst for the hedge fund, D.E. Shaw, in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks.
Cathy wroteDoing Data Sciencein 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014.