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Everybody Lies: What The Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are Seth Stephens-Davidowitz



"I think there's something very comforting about that little white box that people feel very comfortable telling things that they may not tell anybody else about: Their sexual interests, their health problems, their insecurities. And using this anonymous aggregate data we can learn a lot more about people than we've really ever known," he said.




Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are Seth Stephens-Davidowitz



"People lie consistently to just about everybody but they tend to be really really honest to Google. Something about that little white box people feel comfortable telling things they might not tell to anyone else and it serves as kind of a digital truth serum," he said.


"How much sex are people really having? How many Americans are actually racist? Is America experiencing a hidden back-alley abortion crisis? Can you game the stock market? Does violent entertainment increase the rate of violent crime? Do parents treat sons differently from daughters? How many people actually read the books they buy? In this groundbreaking work, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a Harvard-trained economist, former Google data scientist, and New York Times writer, argues that much of what we thought about people has been dead wrong. The reason? People lie, to friends, lovers, doctors, surveys--and themselves. However, we no longer need to rely on what people tell us. New data from the internet--the traces of information that billions of people leave on Google, social media, dating, and even pornography sites--finally reveals the truth. By analyzing this digital goldmine, we can now learn what people really think, what they really want, and what they really do. Sometimes the new data will make you laugh out loud. Sometimes the new data will shock you. Sometimes the new data will deeply disturb you. But, always, this new data will make you think. [This] book will change the way you view the world. There is almost no limit to what can be learned about human nature from Big Data--provided, that is, you ask the right questions."--J.


Time and again my preconceptions about my country and my species were turned upside-down by Stephens-Davidowitz's discoveries -- Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our NatureAbsorbing and impassioned ... as an introduction to our fascinating new universe of data, Everybody Lies is hard to beat * Financial Times *Everybody Lies is an astoundingly clever and mischievous exploration of what big data tells us about everyday life. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is as good a data storyteller as I have ever met -- Steven Levitt, co-author, FreakonomicsMove over Freakonomics. Move over Moneyball. This brilliant book is the best demonstration yet of how big data plus cleverness can illuminate and then move the world. Read it and you'll see life in a new way -- Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard UniversityA whirlwind tour of the modern human psyche ... The empirical findings in Everybody Lies are so intriguing that the book would be a page-turner even if it were structured as a mere laundry list * Economist *Everybody Lies relies on big data to rip the veneer of what we like to think of as our civilized selves. A book that is fascinating, shocking, sometimes horrifying, but above all, revealing -- Tim Wu, author of The Attention MerchantsFreakonomics on steroids - this book shows how big data can give us surprising new answers to important and interesting questions. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz brings data analysis alive in a crisp, witty manner, providing a terrific introduction to how big data is shaping social science -- Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Stanford UniversityA sobering guide to how much of ourselves we're putting online and what private companies might do with that information -- Helen Lewis * New Statesman 'Books of the Year' *Everybody Lies is a spirited and enthralling examination of the data of our lives. Drawing on a wide variety of revelatory sources, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz will make you cringe, chuckle, and wince at the people you thought we were -- Christian Rudder, author of DataclysmA tour de force - a well-written and entertaining journey through big data that, along the way, happens to put forward an important new perspective on human behaviour itself -- Peter Orszag, Managing Director, LazardBrimming with intriguing anecdotes and counterintuitive facts, Stephens-Davidowitz does his level best to help usher in a new age of human understanding, one digital data point at a time -- Fortune, Best New Business BooksStephens-Davidowitz, a former data scientist at Google, has spent the last four years poring over Internet search data . . . What he found is that Internet search data might be the Holy Grail when it comes to understanding the true nature of humanity * New York Post *It's a wonderful book, but I would say that, wouldn't I? -- Danny DoyleStephens-Davidowitz censures academics and other researchers for ignoring the largest data set ever collected, and he is probably not overstating it when he claims that the continuing study of these searches "will radically expand our understanding of mankind". This undemanding book is a useful first step towards that knowledge' -- Oliver Thring * Sunday Times *Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his book "Everybody Lies," tackles the discrepancy between the ideal version of ourselves we present to the world via social media and the confessions that we would never post there -- Judy Ketteler * International New York Times *


By the end of on average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information-unprecedented in history-can tell us a great deal about who we are-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.


New York Times op-ed writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has studied this and reveals it all in his book, Everybody Lies. He says that data from the internet is like "digital truth serum," revealing how we really behave when no one's watching. Mike Collins talks with him about some of his findings.


Read an excerpt from Everybody Lies. "The power in Google data is that people tell the giant search engine things they might not tell anyone else. Google was invented so that people could learn about the world, not so researchers could learn about people, but it turns out the trails we leave as we seek knowledge on the internet are tremendously revealing."


Seth on NPR's Hidden Brain podcast: What Our Google Searches Reveal About Who We Really Are"I think there's something very comforting about that little white box that people feel very comfortable telling things that they may not tell anybody else about their sexual interests, their health problems, their insecurities. And using this anonymous aggregate data, we can learn a lot more about people than we've really ever known."


In his book, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, Stephens-Davidowitz explores what internet search data reveals about everything from sex and politics to health and happiness.


The fact is that much of what we think we know about the people around us is likely to be skewed, because people tend to lie. We lie in conversation, on social media, and in surveys. But there exists an online trove of data that allows us to paint a much more accurate picture of who we really are.


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