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Stephen

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  • 4
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  • Weapons of Math Destruction

  • How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
  • By: Cathy O'Neil
  • Narrated by: Cathy O'Neil
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,246

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance - are being made not by humans but by mathematical models. In theory this should lead to greater fairness. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black-box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating and startling look at where big data is blind

  • By Stephen on 10-02-16

A fascinating and startling look at where big data is blind

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-02-16

This book is totally worth the listen for the intro and first chapter alone. It's very well-written and easy to follow, and manages to tell clear stories about how the software we use to assess teacher performance or insurance risk is all to often encoded with the prejudices and blind spots of the people who make it. It shows how that is already damaging equality and democracy, and warns of areas where it may get worse.

As a software designer, the one thing I would have loved from this book would be a little more depth about how software products might avoid these pitfalls. However, I'm probably coming at this book with unfair expectations, and it's likely a subject I just need to research more deeply.

Overall, if you enjoy podcasts like Freakonomics and Planet Money, you'll probably love this. Happy I listened!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Vagabonding

  • An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
  • By: Rolf Potts
  • Narrated by: Rolf Potts
  • Length: 4 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,419
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,926
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,922

Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life - from six weeks to four months to two years - to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I wanted to love this book...

  • By Scott Shepherd on 10-10-16

Great listen!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-22-15

Has definitely affected the way I think about consuming products (Will this hold me down in the future? Could I put this money toward a great meal in Japan someday? If I lose this object traveling, can I easily afford to replace it, or will it be a huge loss?).

Short enough that it's a relatively quick listen, and well worth it. Long enough to still provoke lots of thinking.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful