Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has pioneered research on the use of Google searches and other Big Data sources to get new insights into the human psyche, with most of his original research published as New York Times op-eds.
Dr. Stephens-Davidowitz has used Google searches to measure racism, child abuse, son preference, self-induced abortion, sexual insecurity, pregnancy symptoms, depression, religious doubt, anxiety, and therapy usage. He has also used Google searches to estimate how many men are gay; explore why we tell jokes; and (w/ Evan Soltas) learn how politicians can successfully calm an angry mob.
Dr. Stephens-Davidowitz has explored other new, digital datasets as well. He used Facebook likes to measure the key ages in child development; scraped Wikipedia to find what cities are best for producing superstars; analyzed the demographics of America's largest hate site; and studied ancestry.com data to learn what it really takes to make the NBA.
He received his BA in philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford, and his PhD in economics from Harvard. Based on his research, he was hired as a data scientist at Google, where he worked for one-and-a-half years, under chief economist Hal Varian. Together, Dr. Stephens-Davidowitz and Dr. Varian wrote a primer on how academics can utilize Google data.
Dr. Stephens-Davidowitz has given talks around the world discussing his research.
In high school, he wrote obituaries for the local newspaper, the Bergen Record, and was a juggler in theatrical shows. He now lives in New York City and is writing a book about his research for HarperCollins, scheduled for release in February 2017. He is a passionate fan of the Mets, Knicks, Jets, Stanford football, and Leonard Cohen.
Dr. Stephens-Davidowitz' top five Leonard Cohen lyrics of all time are:
5. There is a war between the rich and poor,
a war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
and the ones who say there isn't.
4. I don't trust my inner feelings.
Inner feelings come and go.
3. I loved you for your beauty
but that doesn't make a fool of me:
you were in it for your beauty too.
2. The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it's done --
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it's real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.
1. I showed my heart to the doctor. He said I'd just have to quit.
Then he wrote himself a prescription, your name was mentioned
Then he locked himself in a library shelf with the details of our
And I hear from the nurse that he's gotten much worse and his
practice is all in a ruin.