Sophisticated models that learn patterns from large datasets offer the promise of providing impartial, efficient, accurate, "smart" decision-makers. As such, they are becoming more widespread and have a lot of influence over people's life outcomes. Weapons of Math Destruction argues, however, that these algorithms have troubling features that codify unjust discrimination and are inscrutable and unaccountable. I focus in this post on these undesirable features and how to counteract them.
How do you teach a student from an oppressed class without the wider oppression of society being mirrored in the teacher/student relationship? This book describes how control and oppression work, and argues why it is important to take care that education helps people imagine and create a world with less oppression, rather than merely embodies and reinforces oppressive structures. To accomplish this, the author proposes a pedagogy built around the practice of education as dialogue and the practice of problem-posing.
This book is about the process by which conflict is mistaken for, and thus escalated into, abuse. The author also talks about how shunning shuts people off from crucial knowledge, and how a mentality of supremacy and/or trauma drives this escalation + shunning behavior. She analyzes how this process plays out for an eclectic set of social issues ranging from abusive relationships to large-scale political conflict. I discuss the shared themes of Conflict Is Not Abuse, Why Does He Do That?, and Nonviolent Communication in order to give some insights into abuse, rationalizations of violence, coercion/control, and deescalation.
This book is a look at the traits and mindset of abusive men. Some of its insights are surprising and shed light on why domestic abuse is so hard to detect and treat.
This book puts forward the argument that the right's political strategy since the '60s has been built on fanning class resentment but disguising it as a culture war. The result is a cycle of backlash against "liberal elites" that pushes U.S. politics rightward each time it occurs. Its analysis and predictions are particularly insightful in light of the last election.
Why do people who need environmental protection call for the killing of the EPA? This book explores this contradiction. In doing so, it talks about the suffering that deregulation has caused in coastal Louisiana, and portrays the attitudes that allow it to keep happening.
This book puts forward the hypothesis that systematic racial segregation feeds racial inequality and undermines democracy. I believe it is an essential read for understanding the processes by which racial inequality in the U.S. is perpetuated, and what we can do to combat it.