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Book Review: Everybody Lies

Everybody Lies, What the Internet Can tell us about who we really are, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an economist and data scientist. He uses data, particularly massive data about google searches, to draw conclusions about human behaviour. I loved this book, and to the frustration of my family, I kept reading bits out to them as I worked my way through it. Probably the core of it is the way in which google searches are, themselves, information. One of Stephens-Davidowitz’s early papers (2013), for example, looks at the use of racially charged language in google searches (the n-word) as a proxy for whether people are racist. He then demonstrates that a higher than average number of this type of search is a predictor of lower than expected voting for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections (after controlling for John Kerry vote in 2004). That is the one of…