The Numerati: How They'll Get My Number and Yours

The Numerati: How They'll Get My Number and Yours

by Stephen Baker
     
 
An urgent look at how a global math elite is predicting and altering our behavior -- at work, at the mall, and in bed

Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest

Overview

An urgent look at how a global math elite is predicting and altering our behavior -- at work, at the mall, and in bed

Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the twenty-first century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to dissect us and map out our next steps. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior -- what we buy, how we vote -- without our even realizing it.

In this tour de force of original reporting and analysis, journalist Stephen Baker provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we’re all entering -- and to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists -- and lovers. The implications are vast. Our privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor and measure our every move (then reward or punish us). Politicians can find the swing voters among us, by plunking us all into new political groupings with names like “Hearth Keepers” and “Crossing Guards.” It can sound scary. 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. Surprising, enlightening, and deeply relevant, The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor -- the mathematical modeling of humanity -- will transform every aspect of our lives.

Editorial Reviews

The Numerati are watching you. In this absorbing, sometimes scary book, award-winning BusinessWeek reporter Stephen Baker describes the mathematical elite who spend their days profiling us as shoppers, workers, voters, patients, potential terrorists; even as voyeurs and lovers. We don't know they're there, but every time we scan a website, use a cell phone, or buy something with a credit card, you're providing them with the data they need to understand and ultimately manipulate your behavior. With the help of Numerati savants, companies can sell you goods you never knew you wanted, and politicians can package themselves as candidates to match individual preferences. But, brace yourself, the trend is just beginning. "The mathematical modeling of humanity," he notes, "will transform every aspect of our lives." A stimulating ride for information addicts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433249297
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
09/15/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Don Tapscott
"This is the ultimate revenge of the nerds. The Numerati are sweeping through entire industries, using bits and bytes to construct digital replicas of each of us and then forecast our behavior... A terrific read."--(Don Tapscott, co-author of Wikinomics)
Daniel H. Pink
"In this timely and compelling book, Stephen Baker pulls back the curtain on the number-crunchers who have insinuated themselves into our lives. You'll be amazed, alarmed-and, at times, even inspired-by the power of this new geek elite to predict whom we'll marry, what we'll buy, and how we'll vote."--(Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind)
Arianna Huffington
"From how we vote, to how we shop, to how we date, and even to how we think, the people we meet in the pages of Steve Baker's fascinating book are transforming our world. Whether these changes are for the better or for the worse is up to us. The Numerati is one of those rare reads that is as enlightening at it is entertaining. It will change the way you look at life."--(Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post)

Meet the Author

STEPHEN BAKER has written for BusinessWeek for over twenty years, covering Mexico and Latin America, the Rust Belt, European technology, and a host of other topics, including blogs, math, and nanotechnology. But he’s always considered himself a foreign correspondent. This, he says, was especially useful as he met the Numerati. “While I came from the world of words, they inhabited the symbolic realms of math and computer science. This was foreign to me. My reporting became an anthropological mission.” Baker has written for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for his portrait of the rising Mexican auto industry. He is the coauthor of blogspotting.net, featured by the New York Times as one of fifty blogs to watch.

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