Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: What Does Your Data Know that You Don't?
Surely a search engine wouldn’t understand our desires better than we do, right? Well, we’re forgetting one thing: we don’t sugarcoat anything for a search bar. According to former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s new book Everybody Lies, people are skilled fabricators whether we mean to be or not. But our data? It can’t help but tell the truth.
Every day, we offer up 8 trillion GBs of data to Google’s digital coffers. Looking at that bank of information, writer and data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz was curious to see what exactly fuelled the #1 search engine on Earth. That research laid the foundation for his first book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (May 2017). In it, Stephens-Davidowitz shows us what our digitized search for answers tells us about our politics, sexuality, mental health, and everything in between.
With a foreword by renowned cognitive scientist and Lavin speaker Steven Pinker, Everbody Lies offers emprical insights into “the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.”
Mining questions like Does where you go to school affect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women?, Stephens-Davidowitz seeks not to answer these questions, but to understand why we’re asking them.
Prior to Everybody Lies, Stephens-Davidowitz worked for one-and-a-half years as a data scientist at Google and is currently a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, where he investigates numerous facets of the human spirit—most of it through the (occasionally hard) truths that data provides.