Algorithms. Each of us is more than a number: we’re the product of complicated algorithms. That’s what I concluded after reading Stephen Baker’s book, The Numerati. Many smart mathematicians are developing all sorts of ways to predict our behavior, and Baker presents some of the ways in which that is happening. Baker is a Business Week reporter, and confesses to being more liberal arts major than math wiz. Thanks to that perspective, The Numerati provides a sweeping exploration of data mining without plodding down in details that might be of interest only to algorithm writers. Baker structures The Numerati to describe how our personal information is gathered and used in seven dimensions of our lives: worker, shopper, voter, blogger, terrorist, patient and lover. In each of those chapters, I learned something new, and winced or laughed often. If you’re looking for a general overview on the many ways in which personal information is being gathered, analyzed and used, this book provides such an overview.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)