O’Neil, the author of Doing Data Science and a regular commentator on the Slate Money podcast, specializes in demystifying Big Data. Following an average person from college to retirement, she homes in on decisive moments—winning a scholarship, landing a job, getting a loan—when algorithms can determine the outcome. Based on statistics, algorithms seem to level the playing field, holding everyone to the same rules. In fact, O’Neil shows, these models often reinforce bias and discrimination. They’re complicated, hard to argue with, and, most seriously, unregulated.
O’Neil will be in conversation with Jen Golbeck, a computer scientist and professor at the University of Maryland.