Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
“Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena—from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books—into searchable form, and uses our increasing computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before. A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education, and innovation in the years to come. It also poses fresh threats, from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior. In this brilliantly clear, often surprising work, two leading experts explain what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards.
A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain
The human mind is arguably the most complex organ in the universe. Modern computers might be faster, and whales might have larger brains, but neither can match the sheer intellect or capacity for creativity that we humans enjoy. In this gem of a book, Corballis introduces us to what we've learned about the intricacies of the human brain over the last fifty years. Leading us through behavioral experiments and neuroscience, cognitive theory and Darwinian evolution with his trademark wit and wisdom, Corballis punctures a few hot-air balloons; "Unleash the creativity of your right brain!") and explains just what we know--and don't know--about our own minds.
The Secrets of Alchemy
Lawrence M. Principe, one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject, brings alchemy out of the shadows and restores it to its important place in human history and culture. He vividly depicts the place of alchemy during its heyday in early modern Europe, and then explores how alchemy has fit into wider views of the cosmos and humanity, touching on its enduring place in literature, fine art, theater, and religion as well as its recent acceptance as a serious subject of study for historians of science. Through his exploration of alchemists and their times, Principe pieces together closely guarded clues from obscure and fragmented texts to reveal alchemy’s secrets, and—most exciting for budding alchemists—uses them to recreate many of the most famous recipes in his lab, including those for the “glass of antimony” and “philosophers’ tree.”
The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?
We are on the threshold of a historic transition in our ability to predict aspects of the future with ever-increasing precision. Computer-aided forecasting is poised for rapid growth over the next ten years. The rise of big data will enable us to predict not only events like earthquakes or epidemics, but also individual behavior. Patrick Tucker explores the potential for abuse of predictive analytics as well as the benefits. Will we be able to predict guilt before a person commits a crime? Is it legal to quarantine someone 99 percent likely to have the superflu while they're still healthy? These questions matter, because the naked future will be upon us sooner than we realize.
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