Cathy O'Neil is a mathematician and the author of the blog O'Neil attended the University of California at Berkeley and then went on to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University. She taught mathematics at both MIT and Barnard College, doing research in arithmetic algebraic geometry. In 2007, O'Neil left academia to work in the finance industry as a data quant. Disenchanted with finance, she joined the Occupy Wall Street movement, particularly the Alternative Banking Group. In 2016, her book "Weapons of Math Destruction" was published.
In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill." 1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer covering energy for Vox, on the "epistemic crisis" at the heart of our bifurcated information ecosystem. Listen. 2. Cathy O'Neil [@mathbabedotorg], mathematician and author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, on the biases baked into our algorithms. Listen. 3. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], musician and professor, on how biases built into radio technology have shaped how we hear women speak. Listen. Music: Misterioso by Kronos Quartet Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra
Cathy O'Neil, data scientist and author of Weapons of Math Destruction talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book. O'Neil argues that the commercial application of big data often harms individuals in unknown ways. She argues that the poor are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Examples discussed include prison sentencing, college rankings, evaluations of teachers, and targeted advertising. O'Neil argues for more transparency and ethical standards when using data.
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Creator Details

New York, New York, United States of America
Episode Count
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Total Airtime
2 hours, 56 seconds
Podchaser Creator ID logo 290497