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The Numerati by Mind Map: The Numerati
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The Numerati

Book Info

The Numerati

by Stephen Baker

Houghton Mifflin Company - 2008

Amazon Link


Semantic detail

contextual information

Chapter Quotes

In the online word, businesses no longer look at us as herds but as vast collections of individuals -- each of us represented by scores of equations. p42

Discouraging unwanted shoopers is far easier on the Internet p52, As merchants learn more about us...easier to determine who to reward and punish


** Spam vs. Medicine

David Heckerman - Microsoft

Created program to detect email spam

Spammers change message slightly to break through

If tool could detect mutations in spam, might also work in medicine

Shifted focus to HIV research

Consumer modelling

Initially used averages

Clustering software works better


Office workers historically less productive and not easily measured

MSFT patent in 2006 to measure worker vital signs


Samer Takrit

stochastic analysis, attempts to tie predictions to random events

modelling employee performance, big brother?, performance DNA, better match of skills to tasks

catalog everything (gestures, skills, etc.) - turn into numbers

challenge - create taxonomy to catalog skills of 300K IBM workers

Second Life, IBM created virtual world on SL in Nov. 2006, In the future, all business processes will be simulated


baseball wins above replacement player

compares cost variance of replacement player and the variance in wins to determine ROI

George Dantzig

created simplex algorithm

recipe to guide intelligent decision making


Chapter Quotes

Look at us one way and we are stocks. Change the perspective, and we're machine parts. p23

The work force is too big, the world too vast and complicated for managers to get a grip on their workers the old-fashioned way -- by talking to people who know people who know people. (p34)


Republican and Democrate fail to describe most of us

Monitor - What in the world were they thinking?

What does the future hold?

How will people fare in the future?

What skills and abilities will be needed to achieve success in the future?

Example of building campaign focused on five values

Extending opportunity to others

Working within a community

Achieving independence

Focusing on family

Defining righteousness

Voter groups

Barn Raisers

Right-click (technofriendly)

Hearth Keeper

Civic Sentries

Inner Compass

Crossing Guards

Still Waters

Bootstrapper (committed to individual initiative)

Stand Pats (long for a return to past values)

Simplex Triangle


Millions of people voluntarily broadcast their lives daily via blogs, YouTube, etc.

Relevance vs. Timeliness

Data mining of blog content - timely; spot development of trends, issues, hot topics

Natural language processing and machine language

Sarcasm stumps the machine

Impact of spam blogs (splogs) on analytics





Other Info


Tacoda - Dan Morgan

IBM - Samer Takriti


Contributors to this Map

John Michl

Key Concepts/ Quotes

What kind of science gets it wrong 25% of the time?

While truth is vital in the world of machines, by nature it is approximate -- based on probability.

Truth, therefore, is not make-or-break-it for The Numerati. They triumph if they come up with better, quicker, or cheaper answers than the status quo. (p90)


If a tool to predict if a person was a pedophile was accurate 85% of the time (and wrong 15%), should it be used?