Recent news has not been kind to the algorithmic industrial complex. Some of our finest names have suffered embarrassment and regulatory action. Here is one headline no one wants to see.

UnitedHealth’s Optum faces both headlines like this and regulatory action for an algorithm that provided better care to white people than black people, potentially affecting lives.

Late in October, a study in Science flagged the fact that UnitedHealth’s platform Optum was providing less care to black patients who were sicker than white patients. This was not a great day for the PR department. An unintentionally racist algorithm had potentially effected the health outcomes for thousands of already disadvantaged patients. Within two days the New York Department of Financial Services took regulatory action.

Two weeks later…

August is a quiet month for equities… unless you were at Knight Capital on August 1st, 2012. After an engineer failed to properly update one out of eight servers an improperly deployed algorithm executed over 4 million trades in 154 stocks losing the firm $460 million before an additional regulatory fine of $12 million. Within 48 hours the equity value of the firm dropped 75%, within 5 days the firm required a $400 million bail out led by Jeffries, and within 5 months it had been acquired by a rival.

The total time of the algorithm’s malfunction was 45 minutes.

If you Google “Amazon sexist hiring algorithm” you will get 527,000 hits. Reporting by Reuters went viral last year that Amazon used an algorithm between 2014 & 2017 that unintentionally disadvantaged women and it is a case study in the dangers of un-safe AI.

527,000 results saying you’re sexist, this is NOT how you get promoted. Searched 17/9/19.

The Amazon data science team, being good and well-intentioned people, naturally ensured that race & gender were not explicit features of the model. …

On March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyō released sarin gas into two crowded trains in the Tokyo subway system. The sarin, ten times deadlier than cyanide, killed 12 and crippled or injured thousands. This was significant for two reasons: Aum was the first and only terrorist group to successful deploy a weapon of mass destruction and second, it was done by Buddhists espousing a doctrine of non-violence.

On June 20, 2020, three were killed in London’s third ISIS-related terrorist attack in 6 months — all since the ISIS was “defeated.”

The scene outside Kasumigaseki Station on March 20, 1995 and Aum Shinrikyō’s leader Asahara Shōko. Twelve died and thousands suffered brain and neurolgical injuries.

As interesting as how Aum manufactured chemical weapons is how they…

People talk a lot about digital transformation. I talk a lot about digital transformation because I am in tech sales and those are words we tech sales people say these days. Here are a few of IT sales’ favorite words by year, perhaps you’ve heard them a million times: digital transformation (2016), big data (2015), cloud (2014), consumerization of IT & BYOD (2013), DevOps (2012). We say these words a lot because they sound clever and because it makes our managers happy. But is IT transformation always good just because it’s trendy?

Wow! Not if you were in a leadership…

Honestly, who is in charge of this famous London Zoo’s exhibits? Is it Banksy? Camus? Russian hackers? Take this educational avant garde near the entrance to start. Part zoological study, part existentialist suicide note.

A Zoological Study/Existentialist Suicide Note

Can you find the snake? It lays listless right below the noose (we’ll get back to that later). The snake is set in it’s natural habitat, the film set of a 1975 Western. As we know, snakes originated in mid 1800s Texas towns like this. Although the noose seems more threatening to us, its probably less intimidating to serpents whereas the…

Who’d have thought a year ago so much would change in my life. I am of course referring not to changing continents or industries, but to my new MacBook Pro. Of the many wonderful features it provides, my favourite is the sense of moral superiority. Where I used to idly surf Facebook on a PC, I now daringly explore Facebook on a Mac. Like the 800 million other Apple users, I am a rugged individualist who doesn’t follow crowds.

The storage in the device is amazing, they seem to have engineered a 30 pound weight into it’s paper thin frame…

“What was that movie with the hipsters we saw?” my dad asks across a beaten up table and two plates of ugly eggs to his beaten-up-looking son.

It’s 7am on a Saturday at a dive bar in Seattle. Why am I in a dive bar at 7am on a Saturday morning with my dad?

Not because it’s a good day. I lift my blood-shot, bone-dry eyes up from my eggs. This takes no small effort on my part. “500 Days of Summer?” I ask weakly.

“Yes! The one with the desperate pathetic guy, right?! THAT’S who you remind me of!”

Matt Keyes

Come for the terrorism, stay for the dating advice. Cheers to your well-rounded life!

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