Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor [EPUB]
01 February 2018, 07:08
2018 | EPUB | 4.05MB
A powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination―and how technology affects civil and human rights and economic equity
The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years―because a new computer system interprets any mistake as “failure to cooperate.” In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect.
Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems―rather than humans―control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.
In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile.
The U.S. has always used its most cutting-edge science and technology to contain, investigate, discipline and punish the destitute. Like the county poorhouse and scientific charity before them, digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhumane choices: which families get food and which starve, who has housing and who remains homeless, and which families are broken up by the state. In the process, they weaken democracy and betray our most cherished national values.
This deeply researched and passionate book could not be more timely.
Equal Power: And How You Can Make It Happen [EPUB]
01 February 2018, 07:04
2018 | EPUB | 2.21MB
Why is gender inequality so stubbornly persistent? Power. Even today, power remains concentrated in the hands of men right across the worlds of business, politics and culture. Decisions taken by those with power tend to perpetuate gender inequality rather than accelerate solutions. And those who see the problem often feel powerless: ingrained sexism and gender inequality can seem too huge to solve.
Equal Power holds a mirror up to society, showing the stark extent of gender inequality while making the case that everyone has the power to create change. Whether you are a teenage student, a global CEO or a taxi driver, there is much we can do as friends, consumers, parents and colleagues to create a world of Equal Power. In this inspiring and essential book, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Government Minister for Women Jo Swinson outlines the steps we can all take, small and large, to make our society truly gender equal.
The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It [EPUB]
31 January 2018, 08:39
2018 | EPUB | 1.67MB
A leading doctor offers answers on the one of the most urgent questions of our time: How do we prevent the next global pandemic?
The 2014 Ebola epidemic in Liberia terrified the world―and revealed how unprepared we are for the next outbreak of an infectious disease. Somewhere in nature, a killer virus is boiling up in the bloodstream of a bird, bat, monkey, or pig, preparing to jump to a human being. This not-yet-detected germ has the potential to wipe out millions of lives over a matter of weeks or months. That risk makes the threat posed by ISIS, a ground war, a massive climate event, or even the dropping of a nuclear bomb on a major city pale in comparison.
In The End of Epidemics, Harvard Medical School faculty member and Chair of the Global Health Council Dr. Jonathan D. Quick examines the eradication of smallpox and devastating effects of influenza, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Analyzing local and global efforts to contain these diseases and citing firsthand accounts of failure and success, Dr. Quick proposes a new set of actions which he has coined “The Power of Seven,” to end epidemics before they can begin. These actions include:
- Spend prudently to prevent disease before an epidemic strikes, rather than spending too little, too late
- Ensure prompt, open, and accurate communication between nations and aid agencies, instead of secrecy and territorial disputes
- Fight disease and prevent panic with innovation and good science
Practical and urgent, The End of Epidemics is crucial reading for citizens, health professionals, and policy makers alike.