Numbers and US

Story that numbers tell us

Information Deluge, and How is it going to get managed

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Conor Friedersdorf who writes for  The Atlantic has founded a newsletter ‘The Best of Journalism’  that sends exceptional non-fiction writing to our mail boxes. They are charging $1.99 for their services. It seems they don’t have too many users, and readers base is only in hundreds now.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting development.

The idea behind the concept is that, we live in a world where information is everywhere, we are sinking in the sea of information, and every bit of information is fighting for our attention. We really don’t know where to put our attention to, what to soak in, what to just glance at, and what to discard out-rightly.  The newsletter try to address consumers need in the sense that it sends us a list of items that are worth our attention.

In a time, where we are in the verge of automating all the decisions, at least we have started talking about automating all the decisions, this is a throwback to an era bygone. Now we have recommendation engines that tell us which movies to watch, which books to read, which news item to read, what to buy, when to buy grocery…Though ‘The Best of Journalism’ doesn’t have too many readers now, this venture is based on assumption that there is still a need of human touch.  And the recommendation engines are still not fulfilling the needs of all.

Evolution is going to make recommendation engine smarter with time, but it feels like there is going to be a need of human touch. We change, and we don’t even know ourselves, and sometime our past activity or historical data might not be predictor of our future choices. Secondly, to really know us the the algorithm would need to have access of all signals that we receive or emit, from every sensory organs, sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste. It’s going to be a challenge for sometime, and when statistical models would have access of it, they have to deal with human irrationality.


Written by SK

December 9, 2013 at 5:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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