The Numerati

Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2009-09-09
Publisher(s): Lightning Source Inc
List Price: $15.95

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Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Companies like Yahoo! and Google are harvesting an average of 2,500 details about each of us every month. Who is looking at this data and what are they doing with it? Journalist Stephen Baker explores these questions and provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're enteringand to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, voters, potential terroristsand lovers. The implications are vast. Privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor our every move. Retailers can better tempt us to make impulse buys. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we're aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Entertaining and enlightening,The Numeratishows how a powerful new endeavorthe mathematical modeling of humanitywill transform every aspect of our lives.

Author Biography

Stephen Baker has written for BusinessWeek for over twenty years, covering Mexico and Latin America, European technology, and a host of other topics, including blogs, math, and outsourcing. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal and is the co-author of

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Workerp. 17
Shopperp. 41
Voterp. 67
Bloggerp. 96
Terroristp. 123
Patientp. 154
Loverp. 182
Conclusionp. 201
Acknowledgmentsp. 219
Notesp. 221
Sources and Further Readingp. 231
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


What will the Numerati learn about us as they run us into dizzying combinations of numbers? First they need to find us.
Say you're a potential SUV shopper in the northern suburbs of New York, or a churchgoing, antiabortion Democrat in Alburquerque. Maybe you're a Java programmer ready to relocate to Hyderabad, or a jazz-loving, Chianti-sipping Sagittarius looking for walks in the country and snuggles by the fireplace in Stockholm, or--heaven help us--maybe you're eager to strap bombs to your waist and climb onto a bus.
Whatever you are--and each of us is a lot of things--companies and governments want to identify and locate you. The Numerati also want to alter our behavior. If we're shopping, they want us to buy more. At the workplace, they're out to boost our productivity.
When we're patients, they want us healthier and cheaper. As companies like IBM and Amazon roll out early models of us, they can predict our behavior and experiment with us. They can simulate changes in a store or an office and see how we would likely react. And they can attempt to calculate mathematically how to boost our performance. How would shoppers like me respond to a $100 rebate on top-of-the-line Nikon cameras?
How much more productive would you be at the office if you had a $600 course on spreadsheets? How would our colleagues cope if the company eliminated our positions, or folded them into operations in Bangalore? We don't have to participate, or even know that our mathematical ghosts are laboring night and day as lab rats. We'll receive the results of these studies--the optimum course--as helpful suggestions, prescriptions, or marching orders.

Excerpted from The Numerati by Stephen Baker
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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