What If the Algorithms Are Wrong?

What If the Algorithms Are Wrong? Weapons of Math Destruction...Algorithms are everywhere…

“Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance and much more — but they don’t automatically make things fair. Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.”

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code. It’s really different from what you think most people think of algorithms. They think algorithms are objective and true and scientific. That’s a marketing trick. It’s also a marketing trick to intimidate you with algorithms, to make you trust and fear algorithms because you trust and fear mathematics. A lot can go wrong when we put blind faith in big data…”

This video is about 15 minutes and well worth every second to watch.


Important Info & Dates

February 5, 2019: This is the last day to submit comments to Federal Agencies concerning raising the minimum threshold for appraisals from $250,000 to $400,000. As of this writing, 292 comments have been received. Come up folks, there are 70,000 plus appraisers in this country, and less than 1% have commented. Please comment and encourage others to comment. Share on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.) with your friends and family.

Last Call for our February 7 & 8th conference: The CE portion of our Conference, Stats Graphs And Data Science 1, presented by George Dell is February 7 & 8th. If you are planning on attending, make sure you are registered and have downloaded the necessary software. Download link will be emailed to you after registration. Attending the class automatically registers you to attend our dinner meeting, even if you are not a member of VaCAP!

Our dinner meeting will be held on the evening of February 7th. A cash bar social hour will follow the CE class and our dinner meeting should begin around 6:30 PM. If you are a paid member of VaCAP and are attending the dinner meeting only, please make sure you have registered.

February 7, 2019: Oral Arguments in Louisiana Real Estate Appraisal Board vs FTC, February 7th. Oral arguments are scheduled for February 7th in New Orleans in the En Banc Courtroom. The outcome is unknown, but either way, the appraisal profession will change as a result. We will update everyone as we hear any news.

February 8, 2019: The Appraisal Standards Board Public Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. The deadline to comment to the ASB on the third exposure draft for the proposed 2020-2021 USPAP was February 1st. Comments will be accepted at the Public Meeting in Arizona.

February 12, 2019: Virginia Real Estate Appraisal Board Meeting. The meeting will be held at 10:00 at DPOR offices in Richmond. The hybrid appraisal committee should report to the full board on their findings and recommendations. It is important for comments to be heard at this meeting as well. Please plan on attending. See the meeting on Town Hall.

VaCAP Board
VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar mdwnlk says:

    Face it, appraisers are lazy asses when it comes to getting off their a** to protect their careers 292 comments out of 70,000 appraisers. I am sorry to say but we’ll get what’s coming to us because 69,708 of you sat on their a**ess

    • Kathy Hubbard Bright on Facebook Kathy Hubbard Bright on Facebook says:

      what What?

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      The effort is lacking mdwnlk, however even when appraisers have responded in the thousands (HVCC petition 10 to 15 thousand), it seems the group in power could give a shit less about seeking the truth (who gets hurt with their policies), but care more about how the consumer, the appraisers, and the American public can secretly get screwed even more. The politicians and the want to be’s are in bed with the lobbyist, the hell with common sense and morality.

      Seek the truth.

  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    Man, picked the wrong day to have writers block. Submitted.

  3. The TED Big Data presentation is most relevant with Social, Ethical & Political Bias being introduced in algorithms which can be quite subjective in nature, when dealing with people. Her presentation was not too useful for AVM type algorithms, if done properly, which are objective in nature, dealing with property, not people. I do agree with the presenter in the importance of maintaining Data Integrity, Algorithmic Audit, Accuracy and Identification of Errors. These are of course necessary, not optional. Not so sure though on the importance of Feedback Loops, if one is permitted to introduce bad or biased data. One of Zillow’s attempt at Data Integrity is a Feedback Loop process where the “property owner” can make corrections on property details that are wrong. This methodology seems to be subject to manipulation and fraud, and does not necessarily improved data integrity, unless there is a good check and balance.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Seriously? Enter the ‘accurate’ sizing of your house, on your own? Ha! Oh, we should count the enclosed porch, and the patio, and even half of the garage since we have a space heater and window in there… AVM algorithm will always be retroactive to the activity of unpredictable humans. I disagree with your premise. Humans, known for unpredictable behavior, we like, live in those homes and stuff.

  4. Avatar william temple says:

    Speaking of algorithms. This from the Florida Realtors mag.

    “Zillow spends $1M trying to improve its ‘Zestimates’
    The home estimates aren’t very accurate – 50% are currently over/under by more than 4.5% – yet some owners still track their home’s Zestimate value as if it’s the stock market. Zillow says about 1 in 8 estimates are wrong by at least 20%.” Zillow says about 1 in 8 Zestimates winds up being wrong by at least 20 percent. That includes the 2016 home sale made by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff – who sold his Seattle home for 40 percent less than his Zestimate. In some counties where public data isn’t great or there aren’t many homes, Zestimates don’t exist, or the median error rate can be above 10 percent.”

    Just fanning the bifurcated flames and raising the threshold.

  5. Baggins Baggins says:

    This article was linked through a commentary letter, by an appraiser. More interesting writing points.


    First National Bank has a letter there, requesting residential demins up to $500k. Absurd.

    California Bankers Association supports the raise, repeating this untrue statement there will be no downside.

    The regulations dot gov website appears to be taking about 3 days to post the letters. A good 50 or so letters are not yet visible.

  6. Baggins Baggins says:

    490 letters appears to be number. And 344 posted right now.

    Pretty interesting to just read through the commentary top lines, clicked into some for additional reading.

    Appraisers are like very bad idea. Lenders are like, nothing will go wrong. An obvious example why taxpayers should not be backing these companies, they demonstrate institutional memory and obviously are not taking the risks seriously. Blind advocacy for greater company profits. Everything under $400k will be fair game, instant slam dunking of a hundred million plus hoodwinked consumers will become the new normal practically overnight.


    • Baggins Baggins says:

      “Anonymous 40 (redacted).” LOL, genius.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Anonymous 14 appears confused. He is confusing the presence of more money, presuming because there is more money the money is now more ‘valuable’. Confusing value with quantity. Inflation and quantitative easing (aka printing fiat), that decreases the value of money by flooding the market with cheap cash, it does not increase the value of money. The price of money is artificially deflated with manipulated rate structures and never ending fresh money printing. The price of money has been cheap. The value of the money has been reduced as this artificial deflation causes substantial reactive inflation through the entire economic spectrum. Raising the deminus is a bankers way of keep their own destructive financial policies from catching up with them.

  7. “QUANTARIUM” is the next name to watch for AVM hocus pocus and extreme potential for race-based lending decisions. ALL out of the public eye and regulator’s ability to monitor.


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What If the Algorithms Are Wrong?

by VaCAP Board time to read: 2 min