Past Meetup

Cathy O’Neil Hates Your Big Data

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Come meet Cathy O'Neil! On December 1st, Cathy will visit Postlight to talk about how our trust in algorithms and polling is screwing up the world and what we need to do to turn big data into good data.

About Cathy

Cathy O’Neil is a math genius, a former hedge fund data scientist, and a data activist. After receiving a PhD in mathematics from Harvard in 1999, Cathy became the Director of the Lede Program in Data Practices at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and worked as a Data Science Consultant at Johnson Research Labs.

Cathy is the author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy ( She also wrote On Being a Data Skeptic (, and is the co-author of Doing Data Science: Straight Talk from the Frontline ( (with Rachel Schutt). As the writer of mathbabe (, Cathy analyzes the most pressing issues in today's data-driven society.

You can listen to Cathy's episode of the Track Changes podcast here ( She joined Rich Ziade and Paul Ford in the Postlight studio to talk about our dangerous reliance on big data.

In this episode recorded before the election, they discuss Cathy’s origins in the math world, her years at a hedge fund on the brink of the 2008 financial crisis, the lack of transparency in the Department of Education’s data, and the various examples of “weapons of math destruction” in her book — all the ways that data is used to harm.