This afternoon the MAA-AMS-SIAM Gerald and Judith Porter Public Lecture was given by Cathy O’Neil, “Big data, inequality, and democracy.”
O’Neil started by giving on overview of what she calls a Weapon of Math Destruction. They are “creepy algorithms,” O’Neil says, ones that are used by large groups of people to make important decisions, and they are algorithms that are secret and unfair. O’Neil has talked about these sorts of algorithms on her blog and in her column for Bloomberg View.
“It’s not false, it’s just an alternative fact.” Kellyanne Conway (sort of).
Who remembers this quote? OK, I admit I don’t remember it perfectly myself, but it’s close enough. You can watch this video on YouTube if you want to see the birth of this now ubiquitous term.
So what is the responsibility of a math educator in this new world of alternative facts? That is what Kira Hamman and Dave Kung addressed in their joint guest lecture for the Quantitative Literacy SIGMAA, “The power of quantitative literacy in the era of alternative facts”.
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