Worth a Look: Weapons of Math Destruction

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In The Case for Algorithmic Equity, inspired by the book, Stephen E. Arnold writes:

Social activist Cathy O’Neil addresses the broad consequences to society in her book, Weapons of Math Destruction. Time covers her views in its article, “This Mathematician Says Big Data is Causing a ‘Silent Financial Crisis’.” O’Neil studied mathematics at Harvard, utilized quantitative trading at a hedge-fund, and introduced a targeted-advertising startup. It is fair to say she knows what she is talking about.

More and more businesses and organizations rely on algorithms to make decisions that have big impacts on people’s lives: choices about employment, financial matters, scholarship awards, and where to deploy police officers, for example. Yet, the processes are shrouded in secrecy, and lawmakers are nowhere close to being on top of the issue. There is currently no way to ensure these decisions are anything approaching fair. In fact, the algorithms can create a sort of feedback loop of disadvantage.

Click Here for Book, Click Here to Read Arnold’s Full Post.

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Sep 22

Worth a Look: How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

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Suggested by Berto Jongman.

The first serious book to examine what happens when the ancient boundary between war and peace is erased.

Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Today, military personnel don’t just “kill people and break stuff.” Instead, they analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it.

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Aug 9

Worth a Look: Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures

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National intelligence cultures are shaped by their country’s history and environment. Featuring 32 countries (such as Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Norway, Latvia, Montenegro), the work provides insight into a number of rarely discussed national intelligence agencies to allow for comparative study, offering hard to find information into one volume. In their chapters, the contributors, who are all experts from the countries discussed, address the intelligence community rather than focus on a single agency. They examine the environment in which an organization operates, its actors, and cultural and ideological climate, to cover both the external and internal factors that influence a nation’s intelligence community. The result is an exhaustive, unique survey of European intelligence communities rarely discussed.

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Aug 3