i stumbled upon this video from IBM's Smarter Planet channel on YouTube.
and i have some problems with it.
it might sound a little weird since i use numbers and maths and spreadsheets a lot in my line of work.
having worked with numbers and equations and spreadsheets and statistics for quite a number of years, i know that they can do good. it quantifies what is presumably unquantifiable - and by making "it" measurable, it becomes observable and manageable. it can then lead to efficiencies - as in the case of generating more savings - or effectiveness - like in making sure that each buck invested in an ad campaign generates more bang than it should by putting it in the right place (identified through a number) at the right time (identified - again - by a number).
but i also know that numbers have limitations.
and numbers can lie.
and numbers can create havoc.
just think of the financial crisis - it was all about equations and probabilities and risks. risk theoreticians and academicians thought they could quantify ALL risks involves in investments, and therefore put a number - a price-tag - to it so they can trade it and create more money out of it.
[ numbers make us confident - but they can also make us too confident to realize that not everything can be quantified and reduced into a mere set of equations, statistics, and models.]