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Rex Sorgatz points to MSNBC’s iPredict, where the public votes, among other topics, on whether a certain Swiss tennis champ will win the French Open. (ex Mathew Ingram) If Federer loses, the question will be whether the masses knew best or, perhaps, whether he saw their verdict and it demoralized him. There are secondary effects. Of course, maybe Rafael Nadal will see the same poll and be driven to defeat by a surge of hubris…
Reading his blog, I think Sorgatz will be a good candidate to read (or even write) by upcoming book. Check out this quote:
Like a Borgesian map where one mile equals one mile, data is suspended over us, with little stick pins that demarcate the boundaries and info packets of our lives. If we were to get especially sauced in metaphysical hyperbole, perhaps we’d even say existence itself has become a synonym with data — the ways we quantify and visualize our lives expose our true self.
My only quibble would be that these data portraits will not necessarily reflect our true selves (whatever those are). True, sometimes they’ll expose facets of ourselves that we weren’t aware of; but other times, the mathematicians and modelers will plug in whatever data they have at hand and create dangerously distorted portraits of us. But then, perhaps, a little bit like Nadal and Federer, we may be led to believe that the data tell the truth. Then some of us will start seeing ourselves that way, and perhaps even become what the data predict.
Speaking of the book, I’m just about done the first draft—and my editor won’t have time to read it til July. So I think I’ll take a week and ride my bike across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water to lovely Montclair. Anyone who knows good bike map resources online, or has any other tips, please share. Thanks.