The Efficiency Paradox:
What Big Data Can't Do
This event includes a book signing
May 15, 2018
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed writer, speaker, and scholar EDWARD TENNER for a discussion of his latest book, The Efficiency Paradox: What Big Data Can't Do.
About The Efficiency Paradox
Algorithms, multitasking, the sharing economy, life hacks: our culture can't get enough of efficiency. One of the great promises of the Internet and big data revolutions is the idea that we can improve the processes and routines of our work and personal lives to get more done in less time than we ever have before. There is no doubt that we're performing at higher levels and moving at unprecedented speed, but what if we're headed in the wrong direction?
Melding the long-term history of technology with the latest headlines and findings of computer science and social science, The Efficiency Paradox questions our ingrained assumptions about efficiency, persuasively showing how relying on the algorithms of digital platforms can in fact lead to wasted efforts, missed opportunities, and above all an inability to break out of established patterns. Edward Tenner offers a smarter way of thinking about efficiency, revealing what we and our institutions, when equipped with an astute combination of artificial intelligence and trained intuition, can learn from the random and unexpected.
"The idea of a world that is “friction free” is the technologist’s dream. In The Efficiency Paradox, Edward Tenner explores what that vision casts aside: from human judgment and seeing the world in shades of gray, to the blessings of serendipity and all of the ethical calls that algorithms can’t provide. Tenner holds hope for technology finding a middle way that will bring friction back into the fold, and the benefits will be more than economic—they will be cultural, scientific, political, and social. This is the rare book that doesn’t want to divide optimists and pessimists." —Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
"This masterly study challenges naïve assumptions that characterize our twenty-first-century world of electronic hyper-efficiency. Computers, big data, and artificial intelligence are too often allowed to supersede human judgment and indeed undermine our very self-confidence as human beings. Yet no electronic machine can match our capacity for the untidy human factors needed to balance the sanitized precision and tunnel vision of our digital devices: holistic thinking, serendipity, and intuition. Tenner urges us to forgive ourselves for being human." —Arthur Molella, Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
"A marvel of unexpected wisdom and startling examples . . . A compelling guide through the thicket of choices as we gather knowledge to ease the path to the future. Tenner, an expert in revealing unintended consequences of technological innovation and rushed change, digs deeply in this remarkable account of how efficiencies, big data, and techniques of surveillance produce new awareness while simultaneously leading us astray. He challenges us to recognize that both small data and large populations contribute to our ability to live our lives and do our jobs. The Efficiency Paradox is essential for anyone who wishes to open the gauzy curtains of conventional beliefs." —Gary Alan Fine, James Johnson Professor of Sociology at Northwestern and author of Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Action and Culture
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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