Posted on April 21st, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 9 of Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil talks about how big data affects people’s ability to get insured. As has been discussed in the past, WMDs often target the poor and the less educated. She discusses how e-scores play a role in identifying these people and taking advantage of this vulnerability they possess. Many of them are desperate to drive — their jobs depend on it. In the eyes of insurance companies, overcharging them is good for the bottom line.

She talks a little bit about a statistician named…


Posted on April 16th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 8 of Weapons of Math Destruction, author Cathy O’Neil talks about how WMDs affect people’s ability to get credit, loans, and jobs. She discusses the impact that big data has on the decisions of credit companies in loaning out credit. She compares FICO scores and e-scores and goes in depth about how e-scores affect more than just your ability to get credit.

O’Neil says FICO scores are pretty transparent and easy to tweak to be more accurate. They are calculated by looking only at a borrower’s finances — mostly one’s…


Posted on April 7th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 7 of Weapons of Math Destruction, author Cathy O’Neil talks about the misuse of scheduling software and teacher evaluation software and how it affects the lives of people. She states that they create a poisonous feedback loop for workers that ends up causing more hurt than good. Like most WMDs she speaks of in the book, the software discussed in this chapter is erroneous in the way it measures its own success.

Scheduling software is used to maximize efficiency in the workplace while minimizing labor costs. More people are scheduled…


Posted on March 25th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 6 of Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil talks about the ways that companies use AI to screen out applicants unfairly. She also mentions how St. George’s Hospital Medical School blackballed foreign students using such software. These programs, like all the WMDs discussed in this book, were meant to aid humans in doing their jobs more efficiently. Like many other Big Data programs, the companies settle for proxies to accomplish this task. However, as we’ve seen, proxies are often inexact and unfair.

O’Neil talks about a student named Kyle Behm…


Posted on March 18th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 5 of Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil discusses the use of police models and their effect on their respective communities. While the models help to stop crime overall, they do so in a way that targets race as well as the poor and impoverished, despite claiming to overlook such aspects. The result is more and more data that helps support and sustain these flawed models.

O’Neil talks about how PredPol, a predictive program, was originally intended to help the police crack down on violent crime. This was due to…


Posted on March 17th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In Chapter 4 of Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil talks about for-profit colleges as well as online advertisers and their methods of targeting underprivileged individuals to make money. She goes in depth about how for-profit colleges operate and uses different examples, such as Corinthian College or Vatterott College, to outline how their “scams” work.

Corinthian College, she mentions, was a for-profit university who targeted low-income individuals who had “low self-esteem” or were “impatient” or “stuck” in life. They charged incredibly high prices for tuition and offered loans to people to help…


Posted on March 3rd, 2021 by Emilio Miles

In chapter 3 of Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil talks about her journey in the finance and big data industries. She talks about working for a Hedge Fund, called Shaw, which used mathematical models for their own benefit and to the detriment of others. This was one of the reasons she quickly started to become disillusioned with WMDs. During the 2008 stock market collapse, Shaw found a way to do well despite other businesses failing. This was because they employed a strategy similar to one in baseball betting where instead of…


Posted on February 24th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

Cathy O’Neil, author of the book Weapons of Math Destruction, describes an AI model as nothing more than an abstract representation of a process. A model takes what we know and uses that information to predict responses in various situations. In her book she uses various different scenarios to describe how models work.

For example, in baseball she uses the idea of statistics to show how coaches make decisions. If a player tends to hit a ball to the right side of the field, the coach might have more players cover that…


Posted on February 16th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

There are already many inventions that make use of artificial intelligence in a lot of different ways. One of the more fun, but still interesting, uses of AI is in gaming. I think it would be incredibly cool to create a role-playing game where the adventure ends when the user would like it to end. Most role-playing games have a character face tough challenges and level up throughout the journey but, unfortunately, they all have to end at some point. Presently, there is a text-based dungeon crawler game out there called AI…


Posted on February 10th, 2021 by Emilio Miles

The plot of Ex Machina deals with a young programmer, Caleb Smith, who wins a one-week visit to the luxurious home of CEO Nathan Bateman, head of the company for which Caleb works. Nathan has built a humanoid robot named Ava with artificial intelligence. The movie centers around the interactions between Caleb and Ava, which are used to ultimately judge whether or not Ava is capable of genuine thought and consciousness, despite knowing that she is artificial.

The idea of the Turing test was used throughout the movie to assess the true intelligence of the machine, though not quite in…

Emilio Miles

Computer Science student at the University of Kansas

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