Do you trust the numbers?

Numbers don’t need to be trusted to shape our lives: they just need our attention

The 1820s is often seen as the moment when an enthusiasm for numbers started to take hold. Ever since, there has been a growing impulse to understand people through statistics, giving rise to an explosion or avalanche of systems for social measurement, facilitated by what Theodor Porter memorably described as a trust in numbers. Over almost 200 years, our lives have been measured with increasing intensity: from household, health, mortality and crime data, to Fitbits, smartphone apps, performance and consumer analytics. ….[READ]