In today’s screen age, the book that Sreeraj talked about is pertinent. The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online by Mary Aiken, the world’s leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology, talks about how the cyber world is intruding on our way of life, the minds of our children and the way people interact or not with each other. From the madness of trolling to excessive sexting, Aiken navigates the corridors of cyber crime and addictive behavior. The book is not academic in flavor but goes on a case by case basis, providing stats and trends that may want us to shut down our laptops for a while and rethink appeasing our children with digital tablets.

Ralph mentioned a companion book to this called Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil. The book talks about how algorithms that are making life simpler by helping make decisions about whom to give a loan or a scholarship to are as biased as people. On one hand, there’s the view that engineers need to be empathetic as their biases rub off in the algorithms they create. But the problem is not so clear cut. Data-driven decisions are based on what the mathematical models are learning continuously. While biases are inevitable, algorithms end up being the new bureaucracy.

“Be afraid,” Jaya said.

More books in Part 4.