Book Group


Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil

Weapons of Math Destruction
Thursdays, June 14, 21, and 28
Noon-1:00 p.m., CITL Lobby

Join us this summer as we read National Book Award nominee, Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil. All participants who commit to at least 2 of 3 meetings will receive a complimentary copy of the book. Registration is limited to the first 10 people who apply. Register here.

From the publisher: “We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.

But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.

O’Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it’s up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.”


A new Book Group is offered each semester. Watch for announcements about upcoming books and an opportunity to register.

Previous Book Group selections:

Waking Up White by Debby Irving
Whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele
How Women Decide by Therese Huston
Bandwidth Recovery by Cia Verschelden

Waking Up White Whistling Vivaldi How Women Decide Bandwidth Recovery