Economist, data journalist, and best-selling author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz uses data from the internet to gain new insights into the human psyche. In his new book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (HarperCollins, 2017), Seth has used Google searches to measure racism, self-induced abortion, depression, child abuse, hateful mobs, the science of humor, sexual preference, anxiety, son preference, and sexual insecurity, among many other topics. In this interview he explains how web searches are a kind of digital truth serum that reveals our hidden desires, insecurities and biases. He also explores other ways economists have used the explosion of new data created by the digitization of the economy to shed new light on old questions.
Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he created and leads a new digital economy-focused Master's program in Applied Economics.