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Here's the next addition to my series on the "Attack of the Killer Algorithms" the force behind the entire  Occupy movement that you can't see, touch or talk to and worse yet find anyone in government that gets this.

This is getting hot as I have University Professors who are mathematicians following me and even the National Institute of Statistical Science is egging me on, flawed data on the rise and hurts consumers.  

Here we go again with checking the books and making a decision, but is this the right thing to do ethically?  People on pensions use this money to pay rent, bills, etc.  As I have mentioned before on a few occasions, the middle class and I should add retirees are just becoming “data chasers”.  Was it his fault this mistake was made? No, but this “bad” consumer at the mercy of a retirement “algorithmic error” is going to pay the price…how analytics looks at us humans at times as we have very few folks that ethically know how to work with “flawed data” and this is a classic case.  Punish that “bad” consumer who on a couple occasions risked his life doing his job!

This was not just a short term error, it has gone on for 22 years and with more sophisticated Business Intelligence systems in use everywhere, errors are being caught and again it was not due to any of the information entered by the retiree, it’s the system finding errors within and incriminating the retiree, which all of this is not his fault and is purely one more example of the “Attack of the Killer Algorithms.  His case is not alone as we see businesses and others doing the same thing and where’ the ethics here?  When numbers and profit enter the picture folks who lack balance and accountability for “their” errors make the consumers the “bad guy”.

For this very reason I started this series called “The Attack of the Killer Algorithms” to bring this to light and make consumers aware of how servers that run 24/7 make life impacting decisions about them and this certainly fits the bill.  The link below has several other chapters with examples of how this occurs.  This important enough that it has a “static” place on the Medical Quack, along with some videos that also help explain how and why this occurs.

I’m pretty active here with social networking and use it to try to educate as best I can and NYU Professor Siefe and I have had this conversation too on how we don’t have enough people educated in the US on “how to intelligently work with flawed data”.  He has tweeted about his own issues with trying to get information from HHS for a scientific article he wants to produce and you can see it all with the links on Twitter, all public.

No more is this evident as with the Senate Banking Committee and the testimony of JP Morgan Dimon and Jon Stewart just absolutely nailed it in a humorous way. If you have not see it, watch this video as Dimon says “I don’t know” and yet if you watch the PBS documentary about derivatives, JP Morgan invented them, but again “I don’t know”.  This video definitely is about the most absurd “frick and frack” routine that has been published on the web.  I also added my own commentary on the post I made earlier as well at the post.  The bets were on and due to lack of algorithmic knowledge with formulas, this retiree is the the “bad guy”.

So the witch-hunt goes on here with bad math and again those who are not qualified ethically or otherwise to deal with “flawed data” and they walk along and just destroy lives as in this example.  “Algorithm says”…where’s the ethics and intelligence with all of this today?  In the link I provided above you can see many examples of how consumers are hurt.

So where do we go from here I ask?  Do we keep destroying lives as we don’t have enough “accountable” and “intelligent” individuals that know how to ethically work with “flawed data”?  I have an answer to part of this to generate money and that is to tax “the data sellers” who make billions and this is part of business every day and with such a huge focus on intangibles is a big reason we can’t overcome the lack of manufacturing in the US as companies can hire a few geeks and with very little overhead start mining and selling data and thus once more the “greed” to sell formulas takes over with little regard for human ethics and turns consumers into “bad guys”.

If you think about this as a whole, what do you think started the entire “Occupy” have it right here with the roots and even some of the protesters themselves may not understand it, but they know something is burning on the kitchen stove and the algorithms without a balance of ethics is what is behind all of this and goes to further grow inequality.

If companies are smart enough to create “algorithms” for profit with “desired” results, they should also be held accountable for their accuracy and we don’t’ have much of this as lawmakers and others, including bank executives sit in denial or kind of play dumb and it gets reported in the news as yet one more OMG story, but nobody digs to the bottom to find the “cause”.   Maybe I was ahead of myself here, but back in August of 2009 I asked the question, “do we need a department of algorithms” when the Madoff case was discovered.  He even figured out how to “fake” algorithms” he never had and created his Ponzi scheme based on the naïve nature on which lawmakers react today and look at the people who were  hurt there.  

The developer who worked for Goldman Sachs was recently released from his sentence a smart judge through it out and I myself questioned the bulls run he received with his court case.  I’m not saying he was innocent or guilty but the dog and pony show done by Goldman played on the lack of education with high tech data today and again, luckily a judge finally came to terms with this and saw it for what it was and over turned the conviction.  You can’t get a jury of peers today with some of the very complicated algorithms we have working today just about.  

So let’s continue to attack the naïve consumer for all the “bad algos” that were written by businesses and banks?  Not hardly an ethical answer by any means and “algorithmic greed” still exists and is on the rise and moves forward with a lot of “flawed data”.  Write some algos to fix this and protect the consumers that were bit, they can do that if they want and it might cost a little money but it certainly beats this story on how stupid and unethical this all is and again it will continue to contribute to inequality in the US until we come to terms with it.    

As a short side note, I kind of wonder how Bloomberg is doing with his “coding” lessons as he said he was going to line up and learn.  That’s really a good thing as he will become compassionate and understanding too on how all if this transpires…hope we hear more about his efforts too:)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can you please (17+ / 0-)

    explain in the body of the diary what the hell the headline refers to. No doubt like many others, I am not willing to trawl through your links to find out.

    Fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 10:30:00 AM PDT

  •  I'm VERY confused about what you are actually (12+ / 0-)

    talking about.

    One thing that might help is to start at the beginning, as with any news story, with the who, what, when where, why, and how.

                          Just trying to help,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 11:14:55 AM PDT

  •  This sounds like simple human error to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not computer error. There ought to be a time limit on taking back money that you have paid due to your own mistake.

    But I do get your point about the algorithmic morass. I worked as a computer programmer in the health insurance industry for many years, and I know how many errors exist in the claims calculation software that never get caught. Towards the end of my career I deliberately went looking for them, and it didn't take half a day before I turned up my first crop of thousands of mispaid claims. I got the message that I should stop looking and shut up.

    If you are in a PPO, you are familiar with "Allowed Amount".  You've probably wondered how it is calculated. Don't bother. There is probably no one alive capable of explaining it to you even if they were willing to, and they aren't willing to.

    You pay for coverage of 70% or 80% of the Allowed Amount, but the Allowed Amount is whatever the company says it is. They don't have to explain to you, and they certainly don't have to demonstrate that it's computed correctly. You have bought the output of a proprietary black box calculation. So suck it up and keep paying those premiums.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 02:11:53 PM PDT

  •  Explanation here of the content maybe... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I used to write computer code and it's like anything else in life you choose to be the good guy and write for accurate results or you can make a ton of money and write for desired results and the two are not always the same sadly, but they should be.

    The point here in penalizing this man who has pay rent, buy food, etc. is ridiculous a he did not make the mistake and if you read the comments from the lady who worked for an insurance company, she sums it up very well.  

    Long and short of all of this is that we have some dirty code written and simple math is not an effective methodology to provide proof of accuracy any longer as it is spun with marketing and reports and repetition in hopes that subliminal message will come through and create a series of doubts to where you might wonder "is this really true".  Ask questions and again the folks that have built the complicated world of formulas and algorithms out there should be held accountable for accuracy and that's not being done.  

    The consumer becomes the "data chaser" to fix everything that was reported and gathered about us that we did not input, and as in this example, look what it did to him?  He's not at fault and should not be sent off to the "soup line" if you will.  

    I referenced the Jon Stewart video as he nailed it with the big CEO of JP Morgan saying "I don't know" and even folks in those positions have no clue, so this is where the math and formulas attack us with "flawed data" so ask question when something doesn't seem right as when adding social networking information to certain areas of information, well we know everything out there is not 100% accurate and there are companies using this to judge you, like FICO which uses your credit score and other free data they mine off the web to score you to see if as a patient you will be compliant and take your prescriptions...this is one glaring example of mis matched data spun to the hilt and it hurts us.

    There's more of that going on out there behind the scenes than most may realize as we can't see, touch, feel or talk to the formulas and math and yet we are judged by a lot of flawed data, so thus I call my series the Attack of the Killer Algorithms as that's what some of them do when the data is flawed.  

  •  isn't it interesting how the computer people (0+ / 0-)

    are nodding their heads and saying ya, makes sense to me...
    assumptions abound in and what's driving those assumptions is often profits, not morals.  They're in lots of places, but we let people use the guidelines and then don't allow them to use what's right to override what's profitable.  I'm sorry, Mr Smith, you can't have that loan to start that business, as by our guidelines, you're under capitalized.  I'm sorry, but you're credit report level requires you to post an additional months usage as a deposit.  really, I can't do anything it's our guidelines.

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