Though it was written in the 4th century B.C.E., Mengzi's philosophy, especially his democratic tendencies, his policy recommendations, and his humanistic outlook, can still be inspirational to the left today.
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.
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.