As described in the Numerati, the quants who mine, model and manipulate our data are poised to remake entire industries, from advertising and media to scientific research. In coming years, they will be harvesting ever more behavioral data, from cell phones and billions of sensors, along with reams of written documents. This will lead to the mathematical modeling of humanity, the basis for much of commerce, science and industry in the coming century.
For decades, computers were confined to the numbers side of the cognitive divide. But with the development of machines like IBM’s Watson, machines advance into language, and they start to simulate human thought processes, including the use of reason. As this occurs, we humans will have to reevaluate our place in the future of work, and of knowledge. What do we have to know as machines grow ever smarter? What skills will we have to master, and what should we teach our children? Stephen Baker, author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, leads a journey through the future of knowledge and thinking, a co-production of man and machine.
Stephen Baker was a senior writer at BusinessWeek covering technology from 2003-2009. His 2008 cover story, “Math Will Rock Your World,” led to his book, The Numerati, which Booklist called “a fascinating outing of the hidden yet exploding world of digital surveillance and stealthy intrusions into our decision-making processes as we buy food, make a date, or vote for president.” His latest book is Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything.