Book Club 12/19: Weapons of Math Destruction

“[Weapons of Math Destruction] define their own reality and use it to justify their results. This type of model is self-perpetuating, highly destructive — and very common.” ~ Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction

Last week, the Guardian featured a podcast interview of three research scientists on ethics and genetics, discussing both the promise of open genomes and the reciprocal reservations. For those of you who attended Mozfest, Jason Bobe’s session on the new challenges to BioPrivacy followed on this theme, with an active discussion of bio ethics and open science, the tension between sharing and protecting our data. Inspired by all of these, we’ve decided to delve further into questions of science, ethics, and algorithmic processes that reinforce insecurity in out world and in our research.

For our book club next month, we’ll be reading Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil. The ethics related to mathematics and computational processing are not distinct from those in science and the release of open research data. Our aim is to discuss how the concerns in both camps might complement or inform eachother.

Weapons of Math Destruction: book cover + author

Weapons of Math Destruction: book cover + author

For those unfamiliar with our distributed book club, we hosted the first in October, themed around Ada Lovelace day and the bookWomen in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. This month, we again invite you to join us in responding to polls and questions @MozillaScience related to Cathy O’Neil’s book and any associated questions on ethics.

Learn more

Want to learn more about the book? Read the following pieces to study up before our tweet chat!

NPR’s Review of Weapons of Math Destruction

Have another book to share with the community? Fill out our book suggestion survey to submit a recommended read of your own: .

Join us!

When: Monday, December 19th, 9am PT/12pm ET/4pm UTC

What: Tweet Book Chat: Weapons of Math Destruction

Where: Twitter, @MozillaScience #mozreads