Big Data Florida


Scott Tilley, Big Data Florida and FIT

Weapons of Math Destruction
Monday, January 22, 2018

Weapons of Math Destruction

It’s movie night! Big Data Florida kicks off 2018 with an exciting continuation of our discussion about the human face of big data. The book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil caused quite a stir when it was published in 2016. According to the author,

“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 in reality,] the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.”

We’ll watch the TED talk that summarizes the author’s thesis. We’ll also watch a related TED talk by Tricia Wang on The Human Insights Missing from Big Data. After watching the films, we’ll have a facilitated discussion about some of the main points raised by the authors. This meeting provides a good overview for those just getting started in big data – and a great refresher for everyone else clearing out the holiday cobwebs.

About the Speaker

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Scott Tilley is president and co-founder of Big Data Florida and a professor at the Florida institute of Technology. Contact him at

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