For nearly a decade Brett Velicovich was at the center of America’s new warfare: using unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—to take down the world’s deadliest terrorists across the globe. One of an elite handful in the entire military with the authority to select targets and issue death orders, his team successfully killed/captured 14 of America’s 20 most wanted terrorists across Iraq within only three months.
Millions of lives are lost to catastrophes that could have been saved by the advance warnings of experts. But how do we know who can truly predict the future, and who is just screaming that the sky is falling? This week on the podcast our expert guest tells us how we can get better at predicting disasters, how to weed out the real warnings from the exaggerations, and what threats we need to be paying attention to right now.
Our guest this week is R.P. Eddy, author of the brand new book, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes. R.P. is a globally recognized national security and intelligence expert. He is CEO of Ergo, a leading intelligence and analysis firm. Previously, he served as Director at the White House National Security Council, as well as numerous other high level government positions.
Eddy was a member of the State Department Senior Executive Service and achieved the diplomatic rank of Minister-Counselor. The World Economic Forum at Davos honored him as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow.” He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Board of the Middle East Institute. He has been a Senior Fellow or associate at Harvard University, the Madison Policy Forum, and the Manhattan Institute.
Go take a look through your recent Google search history. Now imagine someone were to post all of that history in a public forum for all of your family and friends to see. What would they think of you? How would you feel?
By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.
In our episode this week we talk with former Google data scientist and author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Seth explains exactly how the internet provides a window to the soul and how we can use this data to answer some of the most difficult, and most interesting questions of our time. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying.