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Everybody Lies: Big Data And What The Internet Can Tell Us About Ourselves


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Are you a liar? You bet you are but the real you is emerging through your online activities. What Big Data knows about the real you.

There are things about which we all lie. We lie about our innermost hopes, fears and desires. We lie to our friends, spouses, doctors, pollsters, even to ourselves. But our truth is being discovered because we willingly reveal it every day through our activities online.

It’s all being tracked and through big data a new picture about us is emerging which contradicts much of what we previously believed about each other.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

New York Times op-ed writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has studied this and reveals it all in his book, Everybody Lies. He says that data from the internet is like "digital truth serum," revealing how we really behave when no one's watching. Mike Collins talks with him about some of his findings.

This show originally aired August 14, 2017.


Seth Stephens-Davidowitz - New York Times op-ed contributor, visiting lecturer at The Wharton School, and a former Google data scientist. He is the author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Read an excerpt from Everybody Lies. 
"The power in Google data is that people tell the giant search engine things they might not tell anyone else. Google was invented so that people could learn about the world, not so researchers could learn about people, but it turns out the trails we leave as we seek knowledge on the internet are tremendously revealing."

Seth on NPR's Hidden Brain podcast: What Our Google Searches Reveal About Who We Really Are
"I think there's something very comforting about that little white box that people feel very comfortable telling things that they may not tell anybody else about their sexual interests, their health problems, their insecurities. And using this anonymous aggregate data, we can learn a lot more about people than we've really ever known."

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.