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Beware Weapons of Math Destruction
In the business world, forecasting models need to be both scientifically valid and ‘face valid.’ The former is necessary, but not sufficient by itself. A model must be face valid so that decision-makers do not dismiss it immediately as totally irrelevant. If a model, however, is only face valid, and even if everyone agrees it is reasonable, it might lead to dire consequences. It might become a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) as discussed in Dr. Cathy O’Neil’s book “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.” This column discusses some examples from it, why all forecasters should read it, and why managers should take lessons from ...