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Data skeptic Cathy O'Neil explains why we need to regulate algorithms

The expectation these days is that data science will deliver smarter, fairer, less biased and more consistent decisions. But according to Cathy O'Neil, data scientist and author of the recently published Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, it will be a while before data science makes good on that promise. O'Neil, a data skeptic, likens data science to the early days of the automobile industry, before drivers knew to question the fallibility of cars and before safety standards were established. Today, O'Neil said businesses appear to trust mathematical algorithms without question, putting blind faith in algorithms that may rely on immoral and possibly illegal methods. She said she believes it is time to establish a national regulatory board to ensure algorithms do less harm -- an idea she borrowed from Ben Shneiderman's recent talk at the Alan Turing Institute.