VIDEO: Where Algorithms Fail

My sister showed me this video a few days ago and I’d thought I’d share it with you. In it Cathy O’Neil, author of the new book ‘Weapons of Math Destruction‘, discusses the danger of algorithms, giving a few examples to illustrate her eye-opening points. O’Neil then goes on to highlight a few steps we can take, as a society, in order to overcome these pitfalls. I found this short video thoroughly interesting and hope you enjoy it as well!

“Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance and much more — but they don’t automatically make things fair. Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.”

M x

Top TED Talks

I just wanted to write a quick post to tell you about my top 5 TED Talks about mathematics. I personally love TED Talks – I find them informative, whilst being at the adequate level for me, a sixth former, to understand.

  1. The beautiful math behind the world’s ugliest music
    • What makes music beautiful? Scott Rickard suggests that patterns are key to musical beauty. In order to create the ugliest piece of music, Rickard talks about how he stripped his piece of repetition using ‘Costas Array’, describing it as “music only a mathematician could write”.
  2. Fractals and the art of roughness
    • Mathematics legend Benoit Mandelbroit talks about a concept he first began studying in 1984 – roughness – and how the mathematics of fractals can facilitate its study. If you enjoyed my post on fractals, you will throughly enjoy this TED Talk.
  3. The mathematics of history
    • Mathematics is used as the language of science, but can it be used to describe history? Under 6 minutes long, this TED talk by Jean-Baptiste Michel uncovers how the digitised world can discover underlying mathematical patterns in our history and in mankind.
  4. Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers
    • Due to my love for prime numbers, sparked by ‘The Music of the Primes’ by Marcus du Sautoy, it is only right that my top 5 TED Talks includes one about prime numbers. Adam Spencer, a comedian, gives a light-hearted talk, sharing his passion for prime numbers as well as the mysteries surrounding them.
  5. Symmetry, reality’s riddle
    • A talk by one of my favourite writers of mathematics and phenomenal storyteller, Marcus du Sautoy explores the symmetry hidden in everyday events, from subatomic particles to deadly viruses, as well as touching upon the mathematics of symmetry pioneered by Galois. If you enjoy this talk, why not check out his book on symmetry!

Let me know your favourite TED Talks! M x