Tech Science Seminar Series

Monday, 10/19, 4-5pm on Zoom

Bias in Data and Algorithms


Please sign up for the Zoom link and enter the raffle for one of 20 copies of Weapons of Math Destruction at

Far too many algorithms in use today are being used as weapons against populations, whether they are consumers, workers, prisoners, or teachers. Bias in data can lead to bias in decision-making algorithms. I'll talk about a few which I consider the worst kind - and which I call Weapons of Math Destruction - namely, those that are opaque, widespread, and powerful enough to cause tremendous destruction through feedback loops. I will also discuss suggestions for data scientists, policy makers, and the public for how to combat them.

Speaker: Cathy O’Neill earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company. 

Sponsored by the Tech Science Program and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the Government Department.