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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
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message 1: by HKMar (last edited Sep 12, 2018 07:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

HKMar | 18 comments I am half way into the book. I find the collection of data not surprising and how as a minority that grew up being judged by how I did on standardized testing which tried to navigate my future to remain in poverty and add on to the statistics of impoverished minorities I find this book intriguing. Algorithms are now being used to target the disadvantaged to keep them in disadvantaged circumstances.

HKMar | 18 comments I finished reading the book. All of this has been true for decades , but now it is more so true because of social media and data mining. I kept remembering things that happened/happen in my life and of people I knew/know.
The last few chapters focus on testing for candidates. In 2012 I was trying to get administrative assistant position at a private surveillance company (I was desperate for a job, it was 2012 after all) and I got an interview but the interview consisted of taking a personality test. I thought I did fantastic. The man said "this test is an accurate analysis of people" and then proceeded to read back to me my results "read this over, it says you prefer to not be supervised you work well on your own, that you think outside the box, is this accurate?" I said, "yes?!" I signed it and and didn't get a call back. Today I say WHATEVER! sorry not sorry but I don't need someone to hold my hand while I do my work, I am not a yes man and I like to contribute to make work flow better and less stressful for ALL of us not just for you... but then again I say to myself that door of opportunity wasn't meant for me and I am glad. I digress from my point, but this has and is still happening. Skills testing is also a way of discouraging and making candidates feel that perhaps they are not fit for a job they already do or know how to do.

message 3: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments I have some reading to do! I apologize for not listing some discussion topics for this book yet but it appears that HKMar has gotten us going. I know that Nina is away in Japan and I've been negligent but I'll try to get the ball rolling some more this weekend!

message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments Here are some questions, Eric, if you would like to use them.

O'Neil produced some recommendations at the end of the book for addressing inequality concerns with data, what are your thoughts?

In libraryland, we're usually quite careful with our data, which often leads people to feel we are antiquated but transparent. What types of data do we have access to that might become a WMD or has the potential to behave like big data?

Facebook has faced multiple data breaches over the past couple years, as well as misuse of their data from seemingly legitimate research groups. Despite this, Facebook has seen little repercussions regarding the profit margin - few people are leaving the site. Why does the public not take these transgressions seriously? If you are using Facebook, why have you not left it?

Capturing a person's thoughts doesn't seem so far into the future.
Major developments are happening in the transfer of brain activity - that is, we can capture thoughts and transfer them to something or someone else. What does this look like in terms of big data?

What can we do, personally and professionally, to address data abuse, misinterpretation, data privacy, or data justice?

message 5: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments Amy, these are great!

message 6: by HKMar (last edited Oct 11, 2018 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

HKMar | 18 comments Amy, I love these questions. Eric and a few other colleagues went to the New England IUG a few weeks back, it seems that in the library vendor market they are trying to follow into the footprints of Privacy exploiters/Marketing Giants such as Amazon and Facebook. Link data sounds great for catalogers and curators of data for individual libraries; however, to me it sounds more and more like a tactic of WMD to sell information and market to more people.
Also aside from the privacy and marketing, I personally regret and also understand that social media, cloud services, and even businesses like Amazon have provided a lot of comforts/luxuries to consumers but also it is a form of AI training of which you reminded me in the transfer of brain activity. Amazon Echo, Siri, Alexa, etc.. are all AI spys and AI training modules. What I fear the most is that AI will become sentient and then we're in big trouble. Also I am bit "woke" when it comes to this stuff, lol.

message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments I can say that at the university here we are taking some serious active steps regarding security and privacy. In the academic realm, this is becoming a big topic, and we're expunging data where we can to anonymize and prevent as much PII being shared with vendors as contractually and technically possible. While we have more ways to go to be in an ideal state, we are far more conscientious of the abuse and human rights of privacy than our commercial counterparts for sure.

message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments Are we doing this, or are we moving on? Or are folks too busy now for a book club? What's going on?

HKMar | 18 comments We can move on :) I would like to request this book:
Blockchain Revolution
How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World

message 10: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments I am soooo sorry Amy. My son has gotten me wrapped around his finger (trying to get rid of the pacifier), also he came down with coxsackie! We can absolutely move on.

message 11: by Amy (last edited Oct 25, 2018 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments Yikes! I hope your little one is doing better. And I totally understand the pacifier battle...

If we want to consider Blockchain, I'd rather go with a higher rated book. My preference in order would be:

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts by David Gerard
Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts

That Book on Blockchain: A One-Hour Intro

Blockchain and the Law The Rule of Code by Primavera De Filippi
Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code

Of course the one that looks the most promising (good length, good rating, and good tech coverage) doesn't seem to be at Greenwich... I've already requested the Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain at Hennepin... just in case... :P

I was considering Privacy's Blueprint, but it is a much longer book.
Privacy’s Blueprint The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies by Woodrow Hartzog
Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies

message 12: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments OK, y'all! I did finally finish the book. I thought this was the best of these types of book we read. I thought about how at Greenwich Library need to be careful when using automation to control the size of our collections. Right now we have target sizes for each collection (Health, Fiction, YA, Spanish language, etc.) and each collection manager is meant to weed to that collection size. Automated emails are sent monthly indicated to the collection manager if they are over or under. I fear that the reports feel somewhat rigid and staff may look to weed less thoughtfully. Even though a committee might determine the size of the collection, the target is not flexible and maybe something needs to be built into that is flexible.

message 13: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments I think that privacy is something that we are probably overly lax about. It should be at the top or very near it in a list of tech priorities. I wonder how secure our ILS is and how often our passwords should be updated/old initials cleared. Likely not too hard for someone that is experienced with social engineering to get at our patron data :( I'd love to discuss it further.

message 14: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments Does anyone have any additional thoughts about Weapons of Math Destruction and how some of the lessons might apply in our situation in libraries? I worry that some of the HR malpractice that was discussed is creeping into our profession. At Greenwich (since I've started) we've added a time clock and a health initiative that will keep our premiums at current rates. If certain benchmarks are not reached, rates rise exorbitantly! I struggle with some of our efforts at being efficient and the effects that has on our staff. I really want to make sure that we are making the best use of funds but not without balancing staff concerns.

message 15: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments So yeah, everyone has probably forgotten about this book and I am completely happy to move along. Does anyone want to take the lead as a moderator/facilitator this round?

message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments Glad you had a chance to finish it! One struggle from an academic library perspective and student privacy is a project we've worked on regarding student success. The developer who's involved is incredibly aware of privacy and has set up the data to anonymize and delete as fast is reasonably possible for measurements to be done (research indicates students have a 40% higher success rate of graduating if they use the library), but the university transitioning to Canvas and looking at learning analytics. It's super dangerous territory in my opinion. Reducing someone to quantifiable metrics (how long did they look at this module in the LMS) and reality (they "looked" at it for 3 hours because they went to the gym and came back, and they're running a breast cancer benefit marathon for their ailing mother so have stressors that cannot be quantified...). "Success" isn't just using the LMS or the library, and that's where we have to be incredibly careful.

I would volunteer, but I'm swamped. I'm happy to participate and may help facilitate in the future though!

message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments I'm keen to learn blockchain and all that, is anyone willing to facilitate that this time? I'll be at LITA Forum this week and planning to attend this Blockchain session

Let's do this! Or we can read about something else too, that's cool. ;-)

HKMar | 18 comments Let's do block chain! it's been on my list so far I know from doing personal research but I'd love to read a book about it.

message 19: by Eric (new) - added it

Eric | 36 comments I'm all in on block chain and thank you for proposing it!

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