#344 Weapons of Math Destruction with Cathy O’Neil


Yes, this is still here, and it will be for a while longer to serve as a reminder that there's a new place for Jill on Money content - YouTube!  Seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it takes a little outside help (h/t to JOM friend, Joe A!) to recognize the obvious.  So don't freak out.  Going forward, we're going to put all our radio and podcast content on YouTube! It'll be easier for you to navigate and listen to past shows, because everything will be in one place.  Just click any of the links below and you'll be able to listen to this week's show as well as anything else you see that might interest you, including all the Better Off podcast content if you haven't been listening. Let us know what you think by emailing us at askjill@jillonmoney.com.


Oct 7 Download Hour One Here

What happens when you're in your 40s, not a millionaire, and already retired? Well, you start to wonder if you retired too early, and that's exactly the case with our first caller this week, Lisa, from Michigan.  A retired cop, Lisa didn't really start socking away money until she was in her 30s...but let me tell you, she must've been cranking the past few years, because she's actually in pretty good shape.  Will she ever have to work another day in her life? You'll have to tune in for the verdict!


Oct 7 Download Hour Two Here

Hour two this week is an example of my geekiness.

I love math and statistics...but I am nothing compared to the brilliant Cathy O’Neil. I have been a fan girl of Cathy’s since discovering her blog, mathbabe.org and then hearing her on the Slate Money podcast. Cathy, whose New York Times bestselling book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy is now out in paperback, is the ultimate math geek, but more importantly, she is one of the most thoughtful intellectuals that I have encountered.

Cathy’s resume is impressive: a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, a postdoc at the MIT math department, a professor at Barnard College, where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry and then a short-lived stint on Wall Street, before she launched her consulting firm, ORCAA.

When I heard Cathy explain complicated topics and then read the hardcover edition of the book last year, I knew we had to have her on the show. It’s such a fascinating read about how big data can be manipulated, infiltrate various parts of our lives and magnify the underlying inequality that exists in our economy. From how teachers are measured to how policing strategies are developed to credit scores and health insurance...it’s going to blow your mind when you hear how algorithms (mathematical models), dictate so much of our day-to-day experiences.

But what happens when these models are opaque, unregulated and incontestable? Unfortunately, the already unlucky and struggling among us, get the short end of the stick. What can individuals do about these unproven mathematical equations? As you’ll hear Cathy explain, it starts by asking some basic questions.

Thanks to everyone who participated this week, especially Mark, the Best Producer/Music Curator in the World. Here's how to contact us:

  • Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE