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.