“Search and Discover: What the Internet and Big Data Reveal about Who We Are”
How can Google search terms help predict elections? How many white Americans voted against Obama simply because he was black? Are crime rates affected by violence in the media? Are boys secretly favored over girls amongst parents? For bestselling author and data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the answer to these questions doesn’t lie in traditional polls, but in the billions of Google searches we make every day.
At 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 in Willamette University’s Hudson Hall, Stephens-Davidowitz answered these questions and more when he presented, “Search and Discover: What the Internet and Big Data Reveal about Who We Are.”
People on the Internet amass an average of 8 trillion gigabytes of data per day. This enormous amount of information offers a window into human behavior and decision-making. In Stephens-Davidowitz’s debut book, “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are,” he argues that much of what we thought from traditional, offline data sources has been dead wrong, and he explains what our search results reveal about who we are.
A breakout success, “Everybody Lies” was named an Economist Best Book of the Year and a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year, and it’s a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Economist describes it as “a whirlwind tour of the modern human psyche using search data as its guide,” while renowned psychologist Steven Pinker, who wrote the book’s forward, argues that Stephens-Davidowitz’s work points to “a new path for social science in the 21st century.”