Sometimes O’Neil’s comments on corporations are not as nuanced as you’d expect from a math-prof-turned-hedgefunder. “The model is optimized for efficiency and profitability, not for justice or the good of the ‘team.’ This is, of course, the nature of capitalism,” she writes. Yes, but there are responsible companies and others that behave badly. The book does raise acute awareness about the vigilance of data scientists. The choices they make in constructing models, she says, shouldn’t just be about logistics, profit, and maximizing efficiencies. They need to be about fairness, too. The ‘rithm is gonna to get you. Bloomberg Businessweek, August 29, 2016.
Money is useful. We can do all sorts of useful things with money. There are also many things that money can’t fix, though we often try to fix with money anyway. I like to argue that money is a tool and not an objective, though there are many who would disagree and even laugh out loud at that notion and at my obvious naivete. Instead I argue that we also need a noble purpose. A reason why we are doing what we are doing, besides trying to make money (and pay the mortgage or loan).
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I love the story of the guy who set up a burger stand near a large private university. His only objective was to make enough money each day to support his growing family. Decades later he is an icon of that university’s experience and has multiple burger stands around the major metropolitan area where the university is located. While his goal was to make money, it also had a laser focus to support his family and he did it by giving college students what they wanted in a highly competitive market of fast food burgers.
What is the purpose behind your project other than to make money?