A Thought: From the Neighbourlytics blog

illustrations illustrations

Published on Apr 11, 2019 by Gala Camacho Ferrari


I have been following Cathy O’Neil since around 2015 when I was introduced to her blog by a colleague at the time.

Her talk at the Women in Analytics Conference was really inspiring. I about this in twitter but here are my highlights.

  • People trust AI because people trust math - she wrote Weapons of Math Destruction because she thought: “what would it look like to put the science into data science?”
  • Math, AI and algorithms is not something we need to intimidate people with
  • In models, we have to define what success looks like - people who are in power get to define it, we have white guys hiding behind the authority of mathematics, algorithms of math destruction are widespread, mysterious, destructive
  • “These algorithms don’t just fail for the people they harm, they fail their underlying mission”
  • Algorithms cause damage when they are used to punish - they could be used as a way to empower people, to help people, but they are instead being used negatively– use them to help with poverty, with health…
  • Just because the algorithm is less accurate does not mean its less fair - fairness has to do with the way it is used.
  • The people who are affected want to know: “are my civil rights being violated?”

A more thorough and formal blog about my takeaways is here -> Ethics in algorithms and other key take aways from the 2019 Women in Analytics Conference USA

Ni Una Menos

Ni Una Menos

Women across Mexico demonstrated what a Mexico without women would be like