I work for a book publishing company and we are publishing a book in September that is incredibly cool - here's a brief description:
"We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.
Tracing the arc of a person’s life, from college to retirement, O’Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These “weapons of math destruction” score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O’Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it’s up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change."
So, the goal of this project is to create an infographic that charts a person going through life and how these algorithms could positively or negative affect their life - sending them down different paths at key moments (applying for college, applying for a first job, applying for a loan, etc. etc.)
This might be one figure moving down a path that splits multiple times - or it might show two different figures starting at the same place and getting "pushed" into totally different paths (one more successful, one less) based on their starting stats (zip code, credit score, etc. etc.)
This concept is only a fledgling idea. I believe it would be helpful to have a conversation with the designer and talk it through. It would be even better if the designer were able to read the book to help guide the concept (the book is very interesting and only 200 pp.
The deadline is August 15th (slightly flexible) and if anyone applied to this request, I'd like to see some sample work to see the kind of illustrations/designs you have done already that you think are in line with this project, or demonstrate your style/ability.
Ultimately I'm looking for something clean, slightly edgy and able to convey a "big think" idea with mostly images and just a few words.
This will be used for social media sharing and may also get printed out to include in informal buzz mailings.
The author is Cathy O'Neil, who was a significant part of the 99% movement and is currently the host of the SLATE money podcast. You can read more about her at https://mathbabe.org/