Covid-19 Data and Modelling: Trust or Distrust?
Currently, our world planning is heavily informed by models. Models for hospital beds, for deaths, for herd immunity, and for re-opening, to name just a few. How did we get here, and what could go wrong? Can we trust the underlying data that these models rely on? Cathy O'Neil is a data scientist who wrote a book called Weapons of Math Destruction which raised the alarm about problematic and untrustworthy algorithms, used in industries such as HR, insurance, political campaigns, and the criminal justice system. She's been studying up on Covid-19 models and can be a guide to what to trust, how to bolster statistical evidence in the face of uncertainty, and what to remain skeptical about.
Algorithms Don’t Predict the Future, They Cause the Future
We all know that algorithms determine which social media ads you see, but have you considered how they are deciding your fate? Algorithms decide who gets the job, who gets into the college and which dating candidates you see. In some companies AI performance reviews determine who gets fired and promoted. Some of the biggest moments in your life are decided by algorithms. You are being nudged if not pushed into the path determined by The Digital Fates. In this talk Cathy O’Neil reveals the bias inherent in these algorithms, raises your awareness of how it is impacting your life, and teaches you how you can opt out to avoid being fooled or left out.
How to Fix the Inherent and Unintended Risks of the Algorithms
This speech holds an important message for tech companies which create algorithms and the companies which employ them to determine pricing, customer experience, or user outcomes. In this talk, Cathy O’Neil raises awareness of how algorithms can embed inherent bias, which may end up rendering products illegal. She recommends scrutinizing the algorithms with an FDA style approach. In her risk-consulting and her talks, O’Neil helps well-intentioned organizations understand the unintended consequences of inherent bias or blindspots in their algorithms, and helps them avoid legal, PR and moral complications.
Business Fix: Margins, Supply Chains…And Metrics
Companies are squeezed by margins, tough economic conditions, and regulations…but have you thought about how the wrong metrics might be squeezing your business?
In her talk, algorithm and bias expert Cathy O’Neil, helps you examine the metrics that are deciding the fate of your business. Optimizing to those metrics - and the algorithms developed to do so - inform your access to capital, your supply chain, and the way you sell to consumers. You can understand these faulty algorithms even if you don’t have a PhD in math, and raise your awareness of how they are impacting your business.
STEM Needs to Step Up!
To Cathy O'Neil, math is not merely a field of study. It is a way of thinking, being, and seeing the world, of asking fearless questions and thanking someone for pointing out errors. It is artistic and philosophical. Unfortunately, it is still guarded by old-fashioned gatekeepers steeped in implicit bias. Inspiring and thought-provoking, O’Neil is a champion for STEM for all. Let’s not talk about why women or people of color leave STEM, let’s talk about why STEM leaves them.
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's blog and Bloomberg Opinion column
With a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, professorship at Barnard, and first-hand experience working through the credit crisis on Wall Street, CATHY O'NEIL provides trusted critical analysis of our ever increasing algorithmic world.
To keep informed of her latest insights you can read her blog, here. > >
Cathy O'Neil in the news
Check out Cathy's Bloomberg Opinion pieces here >>
11.11.2019 “It’s This Invisible System of Harm” | Slate
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.