The Shame Machine: Who Profits In The New Age Of Humiliation

Listen 49:00

In a new book, one data scientist sets out to follow the paper trail from the overwhelming, powerful, sometimes useful feeling of shame. Is there money to be made from our misery? And, if so, who’s making it? Author Cathy O’Neil looks at all the ways we witness and experience shame today: the gimmicks of the diet and weight loss industry, the ads that tell us we should hide our wrinkles.

Even more, the public shaming that occurs on social media, where one tweet or post can make you the subject of humiliation by millions of people and end your career in an instant. O’Neil explores the loneliness and proliferation of that gnawing, head-in-the-sand shameful experience, particularly in the digital age. She’ll join us to discuss The Shame Machine: Who Profits In The New Age Of Humiliation.

Today’s Guest

Cathy O’Neil is the author of the bestselling Weapons of Math Destruction, which won the Euler Book Prize and was longlisted for the National Book Award. She received her PhD in mathematics from Harvard and has worked in finance, tech, and academia. She launched the Lede Program for data journalism at Columbia University and recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company. O’Neil is a regular contributor to Bloomberg Opinion.

We Recommend

The Guardian ‘Big tech makes use of shame to profit from our interactions’ “Shame is a social thing that happens in the context of feeling like you’re unworthy and you’ll be unlovable by your community.”

Salon How Shame Became Cultural Currency “…shame also takes on the dimension of currency, particularly in the online world — where profit-minded social media giants quietly push us to obsessively shame strangers to the extent that it increases time spent on their sites, and therefore their profits.”

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