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Cathy O'Neil

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Friday, May 12, 2017 - 4:36pm

Israeli historian Yuval Harari is getting a lot of attention with a dramatic vision of the future, in which humans merge with technology to evolve beyond themselves and ultimately colonize outer space -- potentially making our generation one of the last of Homo Sapiens.

I'm hoping this is more of a cautionary tale than a roadmap for the development of our species.

Harari is a book-writing rock star, whose volume "Sapiens" won praise from the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Gates. In his follow-up, "Homo Deus," he makes a lot of speculative statements in a way...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 2:40pm

Graphics courtesy of

My buddy Brian Conrad alerted me yesterday to a very welcome three-way intersection:

So, anyone surprised? I’m not. But I am excited. Here’s what we’ve got on Ravelry:


Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 9.18.17 AM

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 11:28am

Maybe it’s not so bad to have algorithmic overlords -- at least when they are pressured into protecting people rather than exploiting them.

Earlier this week, Facebook declared that it will no longer let certain kinds of advertisers engage in racial profiling. Specifically, it will prohibit credit, housing, and employment advertisers from using “ethnic affinity” categories -- marketing profiles that correlate strongly with race -- in deciding whom to exclude from their audience.

The reform didn’t happen out of the blue. Pressure came first from a ProPublica investigative experiment last October, in which the news organization successfully submitted to Facebook a housing advertisement...

Friday, January 6, 2017 - 9:51am

Yesterday I wrote a post about the unsurprising discriminatory nature of recidivism models. Today I want to add to that post with an important goal in mind: we should fix recidivism models, not trash them altogether.

The truth is, the current justice system is fundamentally unfair, so 

Cathy O'Neil is the author of the blog and several books, including Weapons of Math Destruction.