Weapons of Math Destruction

  • von Cathy O'Neil
  • Sprecher: Cathy O'Neil
  • 6 Std. 23 Min.
  • ungekürztes Hörbuch


A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric
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: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.
But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable even when they're wrong. Most troublingly, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a "toxic cocktail for democracy". Welcome to the dark side of big data.
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. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set paroles, and monitor our health.
O'Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become savvier about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.


Beschreibung von Audible

"Though terrifying, it's a surprisingly fun read: O'Neil's vision of a world run by algorithms is laced with dark humor and exasperation - like a modern-day Dr. Strangelove or Catch-22." (Steven Strogatz, Cornell University, author of The Joy of x)



" Weapons of Math Destruction opens the curtain on algorithms that exploit people and distort the truth while posing as neutral mathematical tools. This book is wise, fierce, and desperately necessary." (Jordan Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of How Not to Be Wrong )
" Weapons of Math Destruction shines invaluable light on the invisible algorithms and complex mathematical models used by government and big business." (Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform)


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The sorcerer's apprentices

In a similar way that figures with many decimals are perceived as more correct, the results of mathematical models look like a magical performance.The spectators forget that a model remains only as good as its basic assumptions and without reality check might just produce bullshit. The performers of the event are happy to have learned a new trick and constantly look for new magic. The trick makers sometimes run out of real ideas, forget their moral constraints and just run after the easy money with fraud models.

Cathy O'Neil knows the tricks of the trade and sees the effects of the magic building up, but I am afraid that her counter-spell is swept away by the ever bigger waves of magic and hunger for profit. She forgets the real moral of the story and that only the real sorcerer will be able to end the magic: a leviathan making the models and their creators responsible for the results and their liabilities.
Lesen Sie weiter...

- Marc Dierckx

The elephant in the room

Welchen drei Worte würden für Sie Weapons of Math Destruction treffend charakterisieren?

schaut genau hin

Welcher Moment von Weapons of Math Destruction ist Ihnen besonders im Gedächtnis geblieben?

Die Beurteilung von Lehrern nach unpassenden und unzureichenden Kriterien und die Schilderung, wie das Universitätsranking eben nicht die Lehre an sich verbessert hat, sondern Geschäftemachern Geschäfte verschafft hat.

Hat Ihnen Cathy O'Neil an der Geschichte etwas vermittelt, was Sie vielleicht beim Selberlesen gar nicht bemerkt hätten?

Schwer zu sagen, sie hat es ja geschrieben. Aber es ist spannend, ein Buch vom Autor selbst vorgetragen zu bekommen. Ich denke, ich habe ihre Betonungen gehört, die ich im Lesetext möglicherweise anders interpretiert hätte.

Hat dieses Hörbuch Sie emotional stark bewegt? Mussten Sie laut z.B. lachen, weinen, zweifeln, etc.?

Ja, durchaus, ich hatte schon so eine Ahnung, vor allem bei den Universitätsrankings (ich bin Studentenseelsorger und kenne mich mit dem Gebiet gut aus), aber dass es sich genau so verhält, konnte ich nur mit sarkastischem Lachen begleiten.

Was wäre für andere Hörer sonst noch hilfreich zu wissen, um das Hörbuch richtig einschätzen zu können?

Hier legt jemand, der die Sache versteht, den Finger auf die Wunde, die sonst kaum jemand sehen will: Dass viele Algorithmen im Grunde schlecht und unzureichend gedacht und ausgeführt werden, dieses Verhalten aber fast immer jemandem nützt, weshalb nichts geändert wird.
Sie zeigt aber auch genau auf, wie sich etwas verbessern ließe.

Lesen Sie weiter...

- Michael Schlierbach

Weitere Infos zum Titel

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 06.09.2016
  • Verlag: Random House Audio