Published: Feb. 11, 2022 By

Cathy O'Neil HeadshotAs part of their CODE:SWITCH speaker series, the ASSETT (Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology) Innovation Incubator Inclusive Data Science team is thrilled to host a keynote talk by Cathy O’Neil author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. O’Neil will deliver her virtual keynote, sponsored by DataIku, the ASSET Innovation Incubator, and the CU Boulder Department of English, on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 from 12-1pm MDT



In her New York Times bestselling book “Weapons of Math Destruction,”O’Neil describes how widely used AI is across industries such as financial services, healthcare, and the judicial system. A variety of models make conclusions that significantly impact individuals and communities, but often in an opaque and unaccountable manner. In the past 5 years, investigations have revealed the negative impacts of biased AI, exposing the critical need for transparency and integrity throughout the entire data science lifecycle. As biased data moves through a black box model that is deployed with little insight into how it was built, bias and unfairness is compounded over the entire cycle.

Most organizations do not intend to produce biased AI, but their lack of oversight and transparency in the process of building and deploying models leads to unintentional consequences. As AI becomes more ubiquitous with organizations, mitigating bias and encouraging the responsible, inclusive use of AI is essential.

“Cathy O’Neil is among the most important contemporary voices alerting us to the risks embedded in machine learning technologies,” notes David Glimp, Associate Professor of English at CU Boulder and member of the ASSETT Innovation Incubator Inclusive Data Science Team.  “Her book, Weapons of Math Destruction, has had a huge impact.  Her clear and compelling analysis has contributed significantly to the urgent project of critically analyzing the impact algorithmic technologies have on our daily lives.  O’Neil has helped energize a generation of scholars and practitioners working to develop responsible approaches to data science.”

More About Cathy O’Neil  

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard and worked as a math professor at Barnard College before switching over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw and as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg Opinion and in 2016 wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She is the CEO of ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company, is a member of the Public Interest Tech Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her new book The Shame Machine: who profits in the new age of humiliation is coming out in March 2022.

More About Headlining Sponsor, DataIku

Dataiku is the platform for Everyday AI that provides customers with the tools and technology that form the basis for well governed and Responsible AI, ensuring that models are accountable, architecture and infrastructure is sustainable, and data processes are transparent. The Dataiku Academic Program enables students to succeed in the data-driven world. Dataiku provides free access to its fully integrated data science, machine learning, and AI platform. On top of providing the technology, Dataiku also hosts several student enrichment programs, project competitions, and access to monthly webinars and events. Learn more by visiting their website.