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Weapons of Math Destruction

goyo profile image Grzegorz Ziemonski ・2 min read

I've recently read a book titled Weapons of Math Destruction and I think it conveys a message that's worth spreading further.

Long story short, math and algorithms are having more and more influence on our lives, and some of these "things" really deserve a WMD title - they hurt thousands of people, whether by taking their money, keeping them in prison, or unfairly taking away their chances of better education and/or a better live in general.

In a sense, this book is a call-to-action for us developers. We need to make sure that the algorithms that we're developing are well designed and well tested, including the all important feedback regarding it's results. It's also a call to push for better control over algorithms, especially in the most important areas of our life. The burden of proof that an algorithm works should lay on the creator, not on the person affected by it.

It's not the easiest read, or at least it wasn't for me. I felt a constant mix of "this is a good read" and "oh, that's disgusting" as I learned about more and more damage caused by algorithms that were supposed to be objective and fair.

If the topics I mentioned seemed concerning to you or you believe that algorithms that rule our lives are statistically sound, unbiased, and fair, I highly recommend picking up the book.

If there's somebody that has already read the book or knows some other good sources on the topic, I'll be glad to read about it in the comments.

Have a wonderful day!

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crongm profile image
Carlos Garcia ★

This is a topic that should be taken more seriously in any organization which software has social implications. Thanks for the recommendation.

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mraarif profile image
Aarif

here's (youtu.be/Tng6Fox8EfI) a very good talk by uncle bob, he has called for a developer's oath to follow the ethical values while developing something.