The long read
How algorithms rule our working lives
Employers are turning to mathematically modelled ways of sifting through job applications. Even when wrong, their verdicts seem beyond dispute – and they tend to punish the poor
by Cathy O’Neil
Thursday 1 September 2016 01.00 EDT
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Will those insights be tested, or simply used to justify the status quo and reinforce prejudices? When I consider the sloppy and self-serving ways that companies often use data, I’m reminded of phrenology, a pseudoscience that was briefly popular in the 19th century. Phrenologists would run their fingers over the patient’s skull, probing for bumps and indentations. Each one, they thought, was linked to personality traits. If a patient was morbidly anxious or suffering from alcoholism, the skull probe would usually find bumps and dips that correlated with that observation – which, in turn, bolstered faith in the science of phrenology.
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Obviously, the job search process must be “gamed”.
Each “candidate” must figure out the “game” and present the “image” needed to get and stay hired.
Throw out old memes and paradigms. It’s just a jungle out there. Survival of the fitest is survival of the most adaptable.
Like that book title, fast – lean – smart beats slow – fat – stupid every time.
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