A book I won’t be reading

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As a person who generally eats books, this is an unusual state of affairs for me.  I hear (via Saturday’s Guardian) that Stephen Baker is bringing out a book soon about ‘The Numerati’.  The Numerati are apparently mathematicians and computer scientists employed by large companies to study patterns of behaviour by workers, and in particular, knowledge workers.  These patterns are distilled by number crunching records of keystrokes and mouse clicks made by employees.  Just as I thought we had escaped the last vestiges of Taylorism, where machine-like efficiency is the order of the day, we seem to be entering a whole new era of ticking boxes, tracking and trailing.  The only vaguely reassuring bit (to me) in this Big Brother scenario is that those who are being watched over with such precision have learnt to play the system and tweak their web and work habits to present a picture of model behaviour.  Ha ha.

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3 thoughts on “A book I won’t be reading

  1. Hey, give it a chance! It’s not just about being modeled and predicted at work. It also talks about how we’re being studied as shoppers, voters, patients. I even tried lovers, seeing whether an algorithm-savvy online dating service would set me up with my wife.

  2. idcoach

    No offence Stephen – I’m trying to make organisations a bit more human, that’s all.

    Hope the dating service came up with the goods!

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