“The Numerati” by Stephen Baker features a look at behavioral advertising. In particular, the article discusses what mathematical models to choose for employees to improve automate management and employees’ productivity. Stephen Baker introduces the audience to the mathematical wizards necessary for decoding individuals as voters, patients, shoppers and even potential terrorists. A new age of numbers has come and more and more companies tend to rely on numbers when choosing the best models of management. The rise of networks and advanced technologies modern business world is channeled the details of lives into databases.
Numbers are claimed to transform business world and society. The key challenges of modern employees is to translate highly intelligent knowledge into mathematical models, algorithms and equations as they are nowadays used for prediction the life span and productivity. Details models should be built for each worker and the models are assumed to include whether individuals are to eat port or beef and what attitudes he should have towards this or that issue. Baker writes that modern world tends to build richly textured models that would create the realm of numbers in which manipulators would be looking at finding the most efficient combinations.
A new science – Operations Research – was used for the first time after the World War II and its aim was to construct the model of industrial supply chain. The first model included capabilities, costs, constraints and limitations. As far as the model was presented in numbers, engineers were able to experiment with it. That was the first step on the long road towards the real of numbers. The leader in translating complex systems into numbers is IBM. Nowadays, IBM is more focused on services, not on models of supply chain. The management world is being run by Numerati and Baker argues that “the workforce is too big, the world too vast and complicated for managers to get a grip on their workers the old-fashioned way—by talking to people who know people who know people”. (Baker, 2008) The word of mouth is claimed to be slow for development of global economy and managers are in need of automation to foster economic and technical development.
The most interesting thing is that baker argues number can be used for cloning us. Once the company is able to build the model of the most effective worker, it would be possible to identity the routines and experiences that make worker effective. The full employment history is needed for computing the steps how to become the most effective. The author doesn’t mean it is the way to create talented painter or scientist – but managers it is enough. The tools for making employees and worker more affective are productive and the world will definitely reward them. Math program are already used for plotting trips and looking for dates. Then why can’t they be used for developing business models to improve efficiency and productivity, to negotiate better payment and to map careers? In several decades works will be provided with models to calculate their worth. Baker concludes that modern world is driven by the numerati and even individuals who like to thin will be pressured to build cases with the use of numbers.
Baker, Stephen. (2008, August 28) The Numerati. Available at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_36/b4098032904806.htm Accessed October 19, 2008.