Saturday, September 13, 2008

i think they mean statisticians, not mathematicians.

i ran into the following article after a friend of mine posted it on facebook. apparently it's called "Mathematicians are new masters of the universe."

an excerpt:

These IBM spies are members of a new breed of mathematical whiz kids who are collecting data on almost everything we do and using it to get us to work harder, spend more, vote for a particular candidate, and even choose a particular partner.

They are the subject of "The Numerati" (Houghton Mifflin, $26), a book by BusinessWeek writer Stephen Baker.

In the 20th century, industrial companies used stopwatches and clipboards to measure productivity. In the post-industrial age, companies need only monitor our computer keystrokes to turn office workers into what Baker calls "data serfs."

it sounds like statistics to me.

maybe the writer is referring to applied mathematicians, which would fit. as for opinions about this sort of thing -- data mining, i mean -- for now i have none.

maybe i should be more specific and start calling myself a theorist. heck, i'd settle for being called a teacher because among other things, that's who i am ..

otherwise people might think that i'm one of these people, looking over their shoulder or their web bookmarks. \:


Anonymous said...

You're right. It's mostly statistics, stochastic analysis, machine learning. What led to this book was a cover story for BusinessWeek called "Math Will Rock Your World." Later I was talking to the chr of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. He said that he liked the article, but considered it computer science. But to those of us who majored in the humanities, a lot of it looks like math.--Stephen Baker

janus said...

to SB: don't get me wrong; it seems like interesting work that could change the world. like your compsci contact, i wouldn't consider it my kind of mathematics, but it could be applied mathematics.

out of curiosity, how did you find this blog?

Leonid said...

My guess is by Google Alerts.

janus said...


i must say this about google: becoming a stalker, of any sort, is getting easier all the time. (;

let's hope that google decides not to be evil, for just a little longer.