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#WednesdayswithMDBinsight – Interesting Reading

Our Wednesdays with MDB Insight posts feature the thinkers and doers on our team sharing ideas and talking about what’s important to us as professionals. 

Look for these posts every Wednesday, join the conversation with us, and let us know what’s on your mind mid-week. This week, the team from our Market Research & Analytics division shares two titles from their recommended reading list.


Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist
by Howard Wainer (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Here’s a book that belongs on the reading list for anyone inclined to seek the evidence behind everything from headlines and social media memes to product trials and political party platforms.

Using causal inference, Wainer explores the process of evaluating evidence that claims to support a range of issues. Far from dull, his book encourages us to ask: “what is the evidence?” before making decisions. He does this in an entertaining and thought-provoking way while also advocating statistical literacy and ways data can be better disseminated and understood.

The need for evidence-informed decisions, according to Wainer, isn’t limited to scientific subjects or scholarly debate. An early chapter, for example, looks at exponential growth and “How the Rule of 72 Can Provide Guidance to Advance Your Wealth, Your Career, and Your Gas Mileage”. Another explores “Happiness and Causal Inference”.

With so-called fake news making worldwide headlines more frequently, Wainer’s passion for truth seeking is as timely as ever. “The greater the proportion of the population that can detect deceptive, fact-free arguments . . . the less effective such arguments will become”, Wainer says.

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig (Pearson, 2010)

calculator-695084_1280This book by two respected authors is regarded by many as the seminal introduction to the theory and practice of Artificial Intelligence. It starts with an explanation of what AI is, looks at the history of AI, and then looks more closely at AI applications ranging from problem-solving and algorithms to gaming, shopping, robotics, and ethics.

A good starting point for anyone wanting to better understand Artificial Intelligence and its increasing global impact.

Whether you check out these titles for your own use or pick one up as a gift for the data-curious on your list, we hope you find them interesting.

 

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