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Weapons of Math Destruction Book Summary

Computer Generated Algorithms


Chapter 9, No Safe Zone: Getting InsuranceWeapons of Math Destruction Book Summary

Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction explains plenty of real-world examples of algorithms and the way they have been used in insurance industries to whir away our credit scores. The insurance companies have created their propriety algorithm known as e-scores which are used for sorting demographic data and keeping the driver’s records. The algorithm is used in auto insurance. Majority of the people who feel the pinch of auto insurance are the less educated and the poor.

E-score does not promote safe driving. However, the vulnerable drivers find it lucrative since they are desperate to drive. The poor drives are also not aware that the insurance brokers are ripping them off. The resulting pricing used in auto insurance is unfair. The algorithm established takes a lot of money from drivers who drive while drunk and involve themselves in car crush. From this chapter, I have learned that the customers are not allowed to compare prices in the industry since the insurance pricing in the industry is not transparent. The insurance companies judge drivers by their consumption patterns. Besides, they are judged by the consumer patterns of their neighbors and friends as opposed to driving records. The insurance companies have also created an electronic logging that register s acceleration of heavy trucks with the primary objective of reducing road accidents and monitoring the behavior of drivers while on the road.

Reading this book has been helpful. It has allowed me to understand how the insurance companies work. The book has given the opportunity to understand how models work in making decisions and improving the outcome. Besides, it outlines three factors why people label algorithms as dangerous. In most cases, people fail to understand the impact, opacity, and scale of the algorithms in the insurance industry. However, Cathy O’Neil has failed to tell the readers how the algorithms help in solving problems without seeking the assistance of data scientists.

The information contained in this book is helpful to drivers. The algorithms presented by the insurance companies provide mechanisms that drivers can use to stay safe on the road. The analytics dashboards which are in the custody of data analysts can assess fuel management and assess the speed of the car in different road surfaces. They can access how the driver accelerates and the braking system. WMDs help in boosting profits and provide an incentive structure where data can be used fairly.

I can use the information contained in this book to enhance my life. As a road user, I will subscribe to insurance policies that promote road safety. In this way, I will pay low premiums thus contributing to wealth redistribution.

Weapons of Math Destruction’ is a useful book since it identifies, explains and exemplifies problems which we can encounter in our everyday life. It provides algorithms which are useful in solving such problems within a specific timeline. However, I disagree with some of the opinions in the book. It does not provide a solution that can be used to measure the advantages of the algorithms. It provides scapegoat algorithms which are used to boost profits. Most of the business models explained in the book redistribute wealth among the rich members of the society thus creating an opportunity gap among the demographics. The opportunities presented by the business models do not provide direction of the algorithms in the future.

The author presents political issues by creating algorithms that add wealth to the rich. The primary intention of the algorithms is to create more revenue to the government. I would advise the professor to find a solution on how the WMDs can be regulated by asking tough questions to uncover the truth about the content presented by the author.

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