Monday, 12 January 2009

Stephen Baker's "the numerati"

Just finished reading the book..a few months behind schedule!

Its a great read. One of the few that has no inherant "functional barriers"....from IT- to Fin to Marketing...whatever your calling in life, this book makes a great read.

What is it about... the fact that powerful computers and great analytics software will allow us to understand more about ourselves, how we are evolving...and enable companies around the world to design better more useful products and services. Thats our take.

The book talks of the power of analysing data. Sure we are aware of how credit card companies use our data to predict our future purchases and send us "offers" for the same. But how about using the same data to understand our poilitical preferences and how to "influence them". How to target messages at us to identify potential criminals earlier and identify the onset of debilitating disceases before traditional medical practices can spot them.

On the other hand, how much of our privacy do we lose in all this?

The author poses the question, but in all fairness refuses to go further into the debate. We believe as these technologies evolve and offer more obvious benefits, we may begin to see the benfits of giving up on some of that privacy.

The book is a great collection of case studies across fields as diverse as medicine/ employee efficiency/ medicine/ love/ work/ politics/ health care....and it is this diversity of content that makes it very fascinating.

The possibilities of using computing power with analytical models are simply limitless. No business will be isolated from this.

A point maybe a lot of us understand, but always worth repeating.

Ritu and Venkat

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