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Should We Be Wary of Algorithms?

Mar 6, 2015

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Kevin Slavin's TED Talk

Netflix, Uber, and the stock market are governed by algorithms. Entrepreneur and artist Kevin Slavin shows how these formulas can reshape finance, culture, and physical environments, with potentially harmful consequences.

About Kevin Slavin

The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department's monthly survey, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent. The latest strong data beat expectations and follow a robust jump the previous month — a sign that the nation's economy is finally picking up steam.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

At the time of their accidents, Jeremy Lewis was 27, Josh Potter 25.

The men lived within 75 miles of each other. Both were married with two children about the same age. Both even had tattoos of their children's names.

Their injuries, suffered on the job at Southern industrial plants, were remarkably similar, too. Each man lost a portion of his left arm in a machinery accident.

Nearly 9 feet of snow has fallen on Boston this winter — most of it in February — closing workplaces for days and leaving commuters stranded.

"I've been working from home for the past couple of days because I can't get to work," says Christopher Clickner, an insurance agent. "It's been taking me an hour-and-a-half sitting here to try to catch a bus, and it just hasn't worked at all."

For sale: lovingly handcrafted shares of Etsy stock, proudly produced in the USA by a team of entrepreneurs, designers and coders. Please note, there may be some variation in size, color and profits.

A decade ago, Etsy launched as a way for crafters and DIY-ers to sell their handmade goods online. Now the New York-based e-commerce site has filed for an initial public offering.

Ryan Pate's anger stemmed from Abu Dhabi-based Global Aerospace Logistics' refusal to extend his leave so he could recover from a back injury. He took to Facebook in January to express his displeasure, calling his employers "backstabbers" and Arabs "filthy." When he returned to the United Arab Emirates, he received a call from the police asking him to come in.

What's the "Greatest Show On Earth" without elephants? Starting in 2018, anyone attending the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus act will find out.

Citing public concern about the elephants and how they are treated, the circus' parent company, Feld Entertainment, announced today that it would phase out use of the animals in its shows within three years.

Did you take a lunch break yesterday? Are you planning to take one today?

Chances are the answer is no. Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch. Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal. Most workers are simply eating at their desks.

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