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Weapons of Math Destruction – HCD Meetup

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Summary of discussion points for the book, "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy."

https://www.meetup.com/Human-Centered-Design-Book-Club/events/251236003/

HCD Meetup group, started by Zeke Franco, discuss topics that surround the design and product fields. The HCD book club hopes to supplement designers, researchers, product-focused roles, and marketers with books and events on topics such as behavioral economics, A.I., hospitality, anthropology, psychology, etc. All these fields study how people behave. Understanding behavior is also a key part of many of our roles. So let's get academic and discuss how learnings from these broader fields could be applied to our work.

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Weapons of Math Destruction – HCD Meetup

  1. 1. hCdW E A P O N S O F M A T H D E S T R U C T I O N How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy Book Author: Cathy O’Neil Hosted & Sponsored by Pandera Labs panderalabs.com
  2. 2. ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd 2 s u Mm a r y
  3. 3. sUmMaRy Let’s refresh our memories of the book by discussing the high level points the books makes. I’ve synthesized the book into four themes. The book covers case studies for each of these themes to provide insight into real world harm that is taking place due to WMDs. HOW TO SPOT A WMD PROXIES BIASES & RACISM CLASSISM ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd
  4. 4. 4 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd How to spot a WMD ‣ Opaque ‣ Unfair / Inaccurate ‣ Massively scalable ‣ Stagnant and rigid formulas that don’t learn bIg dAtA fAiLs WMD = Weapons of Math Destruction.
  5. 5. 5 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Issues with Big Data ‣ Proxies are often weakly leaked to the behavior they are trying to predict ‣ Proxies measure a variable that is believed to represent another quality; often this variable is inaccurate or just doesn’t measure the desired quality ‣ Proxies are often based on the associations and correlations not on actual behavior or qualities pRoXiEs
  6. 6. 6 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Issues with Big Data ‣ Systems that use bad proxies incentivize people to improve the proxy, this often comes at the expensive of the real attribute the system wants to measure ‣ Proxy systems are often gamed at the expense of people pRoXiEs
  7. 7. 7 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Issues with Big Data In many circumstances discrimination is built into these systems, because the models are built on data sets from human institutions that have discriminated against many groups of people. bIaS & rAcIsM
  8. 8. 8 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Issues with Big Data WMDs are disproportionately used against poor people. While the rich have the ability to seek out organizations that don’t utilize WMDs. cLaSsIsM
  9. 9. 9 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Ethics & Principles ‣ I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations. ‣ Though I will use models boldly to estimate value, I will not be overly impressed by mathematics. ‣ I will never sacrifice reality for elegance without explaining why I have done so. dAtA oAtH By Emanuel Derman and Paul Wilmott
  10. 10. 10 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Ethics & Principles ‣ I will never sacrifice reality for elegance without explaining why I have done so. Nor will I give the people who use my model false comfort about its accuracy. Instead, I will make explicit its assumptions and oversights. ‣ I understand that my work may have enormous effects on society and the economy, many of them beyond my comprehension. dAtA oAtH By Emanuel Derman and Paul Wilmott
  11. 11. ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd 11 d i Cs S i o n U s
  12. 12. ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd 07.11.2018 mEeTuP sUmMaRy
  13. 13. 13 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion These are the notes I compiled from the discussion the group had regarding how UX practitioners can combat WMD. This isn’t an exhaustive list of recommendations; just notes. wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  14. 14. 14 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion ‣ Collaborate with your data team to make sure you understand what is possible with the data in your organization ‣ Understand how existing algorithms and data usage affects your users ‣ Advocate for big data transparency wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  15. 15. 15 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion ‣ Advocate for alternative processes for when an algorithm fails ‣ If possible don’t make using an automated system the only way to interact with your organization ‣ Measure how well your algorithms are satisfying you users ‣ Research users who are having issues. wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  16. 16. 16 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion ‣ Work with you data science and/or engineering team to educate your stakeholders on what is possible with big data ‣ Steer stakeholders away from using bad proxy data wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  17. 17. 17 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion ‣ Make sure to have a iterative rollout plan when implementing new big data initiatives. Again, measure accuracy. ‣ Design for big data edge cases wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  18. 18. 18 ZekeFranco HCDMeetup.comWeaponsofMathDestructionhCd Notes from our 
 group discussion ‣ Use task models, scenarios, and storytelling with real data to show how big data could go wrong ‣ Utilize user research to make your case ‣ Co-creating techniques with stakeholder and users could provide insights and empathy when designing systems that use big data wHaT cAn uX dO? 07.11.2018
  19. 19. nExT mEeTuP The next next HCD Meetup will be at Fuzzy Math on August 16th. Learn about the topic and RSVP 
 at HCDmeetup.com

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