New York Subway Worker, Dubbed as a Hero Has Pension Reduced to $5.00 a Month–Retirement System Error–Attack of the
Posted Jun 17 2012 12:08pm
Here we go again with checking the books and making a decision, but is this the right thing to do ethically? People on pensions use this money to pay rent, bills, etc. As I have mentioned before on a few occasions, the middle class and I should add retirees are just becoming “data chasers”. Was it his fault this mistake was made? No, but this “bad” consumer at the mercy of a retirement “algorithmic error” is going to pay the price…how analytics looks at us humans at times as we have very few folks that ethically know how to work with “flawed data” and this is a classic case. Punish that “bad” consumer who on a couple occasions risked his life doing his job!
This was not just a short term error, it has gone on for 22 years and with more sophisticated Business Intelligence systems in use everywhere, errors are being caught and again it was not due to any of the information entered by the retiree, it’s the system finding errors within and incriminating the retiree, which all of this is not his fault and is purely one more example of the “Attack of the Killer Algorithms. His case is not alone as we see businesses and others doing the same thing and where’ the ethics here? When numbers and profit enter the picture folks who lack balance and accountability for “their” errors make the consumers the “bad guy”.
For this very reason I started this series called “The Attack of the Killer Algorithms” to bring this to light and make consumers aware of how servers that run 24/7 make life impacting decisions about them and this certainly fits the bill. The link below has several other chapters with examples of how this occurs. This important enough that it has a “static” place on the Medical Quack, along with some videos that also help explain how and why this occurs.
I’m pretty active here with social networking and use it to try to educate as best I can and NYU Professor Siefe and I have had this conversation too on how we don’t have enough people educated in the US on “how to intelligently work with flawed data”. He has tweeted about his own issues with trying to get information from HHS for a scientific article he wants to produce and you can see it all with the links on Twitter, all public.
No more is this evident as with the Senate Banking Committee and the testimony of JP Morgan Dimon and Jon Stewart just absolutely nailed it in a humorous way. If you have not see it, watch this video as Dimon says “I don’t know” and yet if you watch the PBS documentary about derivatives, JP Morgan invented them, but again “I don’t know”. This video definitely is about the most absurd “frick and frack” routine that has been published on the web. I also added my own commentary on the post I made earlier as well at the post. The bets were on and due to lack of algorithmic knowledge with formulas, this retiree is the the “bad guy”.
So the witch-hunt goes on here with bad math and again those who are not qualified ethically or otherwise to deal with “flawed data” and they walk along and just destroy lives as in this example. “Algorithm says”…where’s the ethics and intelligence with all of this today? In the link I provided above you can see many examples of how consumers are hurt.
So where do we go from here I ask? Do we keep destroying lives as we don’t have enough “accountable” and “intelligent” individuals that know how to ethically work with “flawed data”? I have an answer to part of this to generate money and that is to tax “the data sellers” who make billions and this is part of business every day and with such a huge focus on intangibles is a big reason we can’t overcome the lack of manufacturing in the US as companies can hire a few geeks and with very little overhead start mining and selling data and thus once more the “greed” to sell formulas takes over with little regard for human ethics and turns consumers into “bad guys”.
If you think about this as a whole, what do you think started the entire “Occupy” movement..you have it right here with the roots and even some of the protesters themselves may not understand it, but they know something is burning on the kitchen stove and the algorithms without a balance of ethics is what is behind all of this and goes to further grow inequality.
If companies are smart enough to create “algorithms” for profit with “desired” results, they should also be held accountable for their accuracy and we don’t’ have much of this as lawmakers and others, including bank executives sit in denial or kind of play dumb and it gets reported in the news as yet one more OMG story, but nobody digs to the bottom to find the “cause”. Maybe I was ahead of myself here, but back in August of 2009 I asked the question, “do we need a department of algorithms” when the Madoff case was discovered. He even figured out how to “fake” algorithms” he never had and created his Ponzi scheme based on the naïve nature on which lawmakers react today and look at the people who were hurt there.
The developer who worked for Goldman Sachs was recently released from his sentence a smart judge through it out and I myself questioned the bulls run he received with his court case. I’m not saying he was innocent or guilty but the dog and pony show done by Goldman played on the lack of education with high tech data today and again, luckily a judge finally came to terms with this and saw it for what it was and over turned the conviction. You can’t get a jury of peers today with some of the very complicated algorithms we have working today just about.
So let’s continue to attack the naïve consumer for all the “bad algos” that were written by businesses and banks? Not hardly an ethical answer by any means and “algorithmic greed” still exists and is on the rise and moves forward with a lot of “flawed data”. Write some algos to fix this and protect the consumers that were bit, they can do that if they want and it might cost a little money but it certainly beats this story on how stupid and unethical this all is and again it will continue to contribute to inequality in the US until we come to terms with it.
As a short side note, I kind of wonder how Bloomberg is doing with his “coding” lessons as he said he was going to line up and learn. That’s really a good thing as he will become compassionate and understanding too on how all of this transpires…hope we hear more about his efforts too:) BD
In a 19-year career as a subway worker, Perry Kinard was almost killed twice. In 1978, a bandit stabbed him in the lung while he was mopping stairs in a Manhattan station. In 1990, he was shot in the chest and head by a crazed drunk in a Queens station.
But New York has repaid Kinard’s sacrifices with a slap.
The city’s biggest pension system — claiming it overpaid him for 22 years — has slashed his monthly allowance from $1,414 to $5.
In March, the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) notified Kinard that his disability pension should have been “offset” by the $150 a week in workers’-compensation payments he has received. Instead of $1,414, he deserved only $762 a month, NYCERS said.
On June 1, NYCERS informed Kinard it had overpaid him $163,422 since he retired because it didn’t deduct the workers’ comp. It cut his pension to $5 a month until 2030 to repay the money.
But John Murphy, a former executive director of NYCERS, said the current administrators may be in error. He has already helped a transit cop, retired 28 years, whose pension was wrongly slashed 75 percent because he received workers’- comp payments for a different injury. The pension was reinstated.