Home > Uncategorized > My TED talk is live!

My TED talk is live!

August 22, 2017

It went up this morning, I hope you like it:

The era of blind faith in big data must end

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Saw it and loved it! Thank you for making something so opaque suddenly clear.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Les
    August 22, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Great, forwarded it to 15 friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carolyn
    August 22, 2017 at 8:41 pm


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ian Lo
    August 22, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    This is great and so is your book! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. August 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Loved it. I have your book in audio format, but I have to have it in dead tree form so I can re-read it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. JPA
    August 23, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Great work!! Posted link to talk. As you said people need to take political action to enforce transparency and accountability for those who create and implement these algorithms.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. August 23, 2017 at 1:22 am

    I read your book and loved it. Your talk is basically a 15 minute version of your book, but nevertheless I love it.

    However, I am nervous about the “orchestra curtain” example you discussed. This needs to be handled with care. Omitting information like race or sex from a data set will not necessarily lead to a trained model that is color-blind or gender-neutral. These variables are likely to be correlated to other variables in the data set, and the algorithm may learn to use those other variables as a proxy for the missing variable, and thus learn to discriminate anyway (for example, the algorithm has no access to race data but since zip code is correlated with race that algorithm learns to racially discriminate by using zip codes).

    A better approach would be to include variables such as sex or race when training a model so that you can remove their effects from other variables. But when the time comes to make predictions with the model, feed it false data; tell it that every applicant is white or male. This algorithm would in effect be less discriminatory than one that did not include this information when trained.

    Liked by 4 people

    • September 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      You’ve given an excellent reminder, ntGuardian. Simply omitting data doesn’t make algorithms any smarter. In fact, simply blaming algorithms misses the point that it’s better to optimize in new directions and in a clear eyed way. The training suggestion you mention, testing with false data, is more towards the benefit of a double-blind experiment, and less towards a color-blind (eyes closed head in the sand) approach.

      Liked by 1 person

    • September 11, 2017 at 1:18 am

      I had a different take on the orchestra curtain example because she qualified it using the phrase ‘not distracted’ and ‘what’s important ‘

      In pre-WW2 a German General is quoted as describing his generals ranks as having 2 traits
      from the list clever, lazy, stupid, industrious

      The clever lazy generals were said to be the best because they were not distracted and could focus on what was important


  8. Joe F.
    August 23, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Outstanding presentation. This is important work you’re doing, especially so as I know of no one else doing it. Glad to see you doing it so well.
    I hope everyone will “like” and share this talk; it’s relevant and important to every one of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. August 23, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Heard it this morning on the Ted Podcast. Enjoyed it and will share it along.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Robert Gordon
    August 23, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Ms.  O’Neil: Speaking as a retired black male lawyer who is now studying Statistical Learning, Applied Probability theory and Machine Learning using Python…you are, and for a very long time have been, a stellar spirit-soul!!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. August 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    This is an important and really terrific talk! After watching it today, I ordered a copy of your book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the work that you’re doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. August 24, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Wonderful TED talk and so timely. I do a significant amount of data analysis as part of my job so I have an ‘above average’ appreciation for your message. In the natural world, mutation is central to evolution. Algorithms reject mutations, either as errors or outliers, so Big Data, in my opinion, will eventually lead to stagnation in so many ways. The hubris around ‘Big Data’ has been painful to observe.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. September 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Lovely talk. An eye opener. I hope those audits come true. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Amy Fan M.D.
    September 3, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Thank you for a very informative talk. “Blind” being the operative word. Agree that big data need to be held accountable by transparency and by people being informed enough to demand understanding of the algorithm.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. September 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Opportunities And Ideas For Home Business and commented:
    After listening to Cathy O’Neil On Ted Talks the topic being “The Era Of Blind Faith In Big Data Must End,” It does give food for thought, and requires another look at how data is acquired and used. Looking at it from her perspective the use of data collected is not without bias, unintentionally or otherwise and needs to be looked at more closely for integrity checks.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. September 3, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Loved it, really did

    Liked by 1 person

  17. September 3, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Reblogged this on The Curious Scribbler and commented:
    Algorithms reflect the human biases of their designers. This matters because algorithms may decide what kind of credit card you can apply for or whether you get a job interview. Thank you Cathy O’Neil for unpacking the black box.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. September 4, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    This is such a relevant and important topic. Thanks for sharing your talk. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. September 4, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Yay!! Congratulations!!


  20. September 4, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I’m hearing impaired, do you have the text available?


    • September 11, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      If you watch it on the TED site, you can either watch the video with closed captions, or you can read the transcript. It’s worth a read!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. September 5, 2017 at 5:11 am

    Great talk. Congrats Cathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. September 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm
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