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STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: I was getting my economics Ph. and I found that Google had released data on searches: where people made searches and when people made searches.I became obsessed with this data to the point I really couldn’t think about anything else afterwards.
His conclusion: our online searches are the reflection of our true selves. Below is a transcript of the episode, modified for your reading pleasure.
For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.
And you’ll find credits for the music in the episode noted within the transcript.
STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: He talked about how important religious tolerance has been to America, and how everyone has a responsibility to not give into fear, but appeal to freedom.
One of my favorite examples — and this is just bizarre — [is that] the top search that starts “my husband wants” in India is “my husband wants me to breastfeed him.” That, nobody knows about.
Literally after I published that finding, they started interviewing people in India about this finding. Doctors are like, “We’ve never heard of this.” The fact exists.Or do you feel that compulsive honesty really makes your life more difficult and that lying overall — obviously there’s a million variations in shadings — is a pretty sensible strategy for life. I was getting no dates, and I’m like “Wait, this is stupid.” Then I changed to like a really good picture, and I’m like “Oh. That makes a lot of sense.” )] So: when we’re putting out information about ourselves, we may lie. DUBNER: You write in the book, “The microscope showed us there is more to a drop of pond water than we think we see.But when we want to find information — via Google, let’s say — well, there’s no incentive to lie. The telescope showed us there is more to the night sky than we think we see.That’s pretty revolutionary relative to the data we’ve had on human beings before.There are lots of things about people that we had no idea about.STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: I don’t think that we’re just learning things that we already know.