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Demian Tretyakov
Demian Tretyakov

How Los Numerati Use Mathematical Models to Understand and Influence Human Behavior


Los Numerati: How Data Scientists Are Shaping Our Lives




Have you ever wondered how Amazon knows what products you might like? Or how Google ranks the web pages you see? Or how political campaigns target you with ads and messages? Or how online dating sites find your perfect match? Or how health care providers diagnose and treat your diseases? Or how the government tracks and prevents terrorist attacks?




Los Numerati Stephen Baker Epub



If you have, then you are not alone. These are some of the questions that Stephen Baker, a former senior writer at BusinessWeek, explores in his book Los Numerati. In this book, he introduces us to a new breed of data scientists who use mathematical models to analyze human behavior and influence various aspects of our lives. He calls them the numerati.


In this article, we will take a closer look at who the numerati are, how they work, what are the benefits and risks of their work, and how we can deal with them in a smart and responsible way.


What is The Numerati?




The numerati is a term coined by Baker to describe the data scientists who use mathematical models to analyze human behavior and influence various aspects of our lives. They are not just mathematicians or statisticians, but also computer scientists, engineers, economists, psychologists, sociologists, and more. They work for various organizations, such as corporations, governments, universities, non-profits, etc.


The numerati collect massive amounts of data from various sources, such as online transactions, web searches, social media posts, GPS locations, biometric sensors, etc. They then use sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to process and interpret this data. They look for patterns, correlations, anomalies, preferences, motivations, etc. They then use this information to create profiles, segments, clusters, predictions, recommendations, etc. They then use these outputs to influence various aspects of our lives.


How The Numerati Work




Worker




One of the examples that Baker gives in his book is how IBM uses data to optimize its workforce and increase productivity. IBM has more than 400,000 employees in over 170 countries, and it needs to manage them efficiently and effectively. To do this, it uses a system called Workforce Management Initiative (WMI), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as resumes, performance reviews, project reports, surveys, etc. It then uses this data to create profiles of each employee, such as their skills, interests, strengths, weaknesses, etc. It then uses these profiles to assign them to the best projects, teams, roles, locations, etc. It also uses this data to provide them with personalized feedback, training, mentoring, career development, etc.


Shopper




Another example that Baker gives in his book is how Amazon uses data to personalize its recommendations and increase sales. Amazon has millions of customers and products, and it needs to match them effectively and efficiently. To do this, it uses a system called Item-to-Item Collaborative Filtering (IICF), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as purchases, ratings, reviews, browsing history, etc. It then uses this data to create profiles of each customer and product, such as their preferences, tastes, needs, wants, etc. It then uses these profiles to recommend products that are similar or complementary to the ones that the customer has bought or viewed before. It also uses this data to offer discounts, coupons, deals, etc.


Voter




A third example that Baker gives in his book is how political campaigns use data to target and persuade voters. Political campaigns have thousands of candidates and millions of voters, and they need to reach them effectively and efficiently. To do this, they use a system called Microtargeting (MT), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as voter registration records, census data, consumer data, surveys, polls, etc. It then uses this data to create profiles of each voter and candidate, such as their demographics, psychographics, opinions, values, beliefs, etc. It then uses these profiles to segment the voters into different groups based on their likelihood of voting and supporting a certain candidate or issue. It then uses these segments to tailor the messages and ads that are delivered to each voter through various channels, such as mailers, phone calls, emails, text messages, social media posts, etc.


Blogger




A fourth example that Baker gives in his book is how Google uses data to rank and filter web content. Google has billions of web pages and users, and it needs to provide them with relevant and reliable information. To do this, it uses a system called PageRank (PR), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as links, keywords, clicks, etc. It then uses this data to create scores of each web page and user, such as their popularity, authority, relevance, quality, etc. It then uses these scores to rank the web pages that are displayed to each user based on their search queries. It also uses this data to filter out the web pages that are spammy, fraudulent, or harmful.


Terrorist




A fifth example that Baker gives in his book is how the US government uses data to identify and track potential terrorists. The US government has thousands of suspects and billions of records, and it needs to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. To do this, it uses a system called Total Information Awareness (TIA), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as phone calls, emails, bank transactions, travel records, etc. It then uses this data to create profiles of each suspect and record, such as their connections, activities, locations, intentions, etc. It then uses these profiles to detect and monitor the patterns and anomalies that indicate a possible threat or attack.


Patient




A sixth example that Baker gives in his book is how health care providers use data to diagnose and treat diseases. Health care providers have millions of patients and conditions, and they need to provide them with accurate and effective care. To do this, they use a system called Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as medical records, clinical trials, genetic tests, etc. It then uses this data to create guidelines and recommendations for each patient and condition, such as their symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, outcomes, etc. It then uses these guidelines and recommendations to inform and support the decisions and actions of the health care providers.


```html A seventh and final example that Baker gives in his book is how online dating sites use data to match compatible partners. Online dating sites have millions of users and profiles, and they need to help them find their ideal partners. To do this, they use a system called Compatibility Matching System (CMS), which collects and analyzes data from various sources, such as personality tests, preferences, interests, hobbies, etc. It then uses this data to create scores of each user and profile, such as their compatibility, attraction, similarity, etc. It then uses these scores to suggest potential matches that are most likely to be compatible and happy with each other. It also uses this data to provide feedback and advice to the users on how to improve their profiles and interactions.


What are the Benefits and Risks of The Numerati?




Benefits




Some of the benefits of the numerati's work are:


  • Efficiency: The numerati can help us optimize our resources and processes, and save time and money.



  • Innovation: The numerati can help us discover new insights and opportunities, and create new products and services.



  • Convenience: The numerati can help us simplify our tasks and choices, and enhance our experiences and satisfaction.



  • Empowerment: The numerati can help us access more information and options, and make better decisions and actions.



  • Improvement: The numerati can help us monitor and evaluate our performance and outcomes, and provide feedback and guidance.



Risks




Some of the risks of the numerati's work are:


  • Privacy: The numerati can collect and use our personal data without our knowledge or consent, and expose or misuse it.



  • Bias: The numerati can introduce or reinforce errors or prejudices in their data or models, and produce unfair or inaccurate results.



  • Manipulation: The numerati can influence or control our behavior or choices without our awareness or agreement, and exploit or harm us.



  • Alienation: The numerati can reduce or replace our human interactions or emotions with artificial ones, and isolate or dehumanize us.



  • Dependency: The numerati can make us rely too much on their data or models, and lose our critical thinking or creativity.



How to Deal with The Numerati?




Awareness




One of the ways to deal with the numerati is to be more informed and aware of how data is collected and used by various entities. We can do this by:


  • Reading the terms and conditions and privacy policies of the websites or apps we use, and understanding what data they collect and how they use it.



  • Checking the sources and methods of the data or models we encounter, and verifying their validity and reliability.



  • Asking questions and seeking explanations about the data or models we encounter, and challenging their assumptions and implications.



ControlAnother way to deal with the numerati is to exercise more control and choice over how data is shared and used by various entities. We can do this by:ParticipationA third way to deal with the numerati is to participate and contribute to the data-driven society in a positive and ethical way. We can do this by:


Conclusion




In conclusion, the numerati are the data scientists who use mathematical models to analyze human behavior and influence various aspects of our lives. They work in different domains, such as work, shopping, voting, blogging, terrorism, health, and love. They have both benefits and risks, such as efficiency and privacy, innovation and bias, convenience and manipulation, empowerment and alienation, improvement and dependency. We can deal with them by being aware, in control, and participatory of how data is collected and used by various entities.


The numerati are here to stay, and they are shaping our lives in ways we may not even realize. The question is, how do we want them to shape our lives? And how do we shape theirs?


FAQs




  • What is the main message of the book Los Numerati?



The main message of the book Los Numerati is that data science is transforming our society and our lives in profound ways, and that we need to be aware and engaged of how it affects us.


  • Who is the author of the book Los Numerati?



The author of the book Los Numerati is Stephen Baker, a former senior writer at BusinessWeek who has covered technology and innovation for over two decades.


  • When was the book Los Numerati published?



The book Los Numerati was published in 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the US and by Jonathan Cape in the UK.


  • Where can I find the book Los Numerati in epub format?



You can find the book Los Numerati in epub format on various online platforms, such as Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, etc. You can also download it for free from the Internet Archive website.


  • Why should I read the book Los Numerati?



You should read the book Los Numerati if you are interested in learning more about how data science works and how it impacts various aspects of our lives. The book is informative, engaging, and accessible to a general audience.


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