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Edward Tenner & Richard K. Rein in Conversation
Edward Tenner & Richard K. Rein in Conversation — The Efficiency Paradox: What Big Data Can’t Do
Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 6PM — Labyrinth Books Princeton

Algorithms, multitasking, 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. There is no doubt that we're performing at higher scales and going faster than ever, but what if we're headed in the wrong direction? Please join us for a discussion of this urgent question.

The Efficiency Paradox questions our ingrained assumptions about efficiency, persuasively showing how relying on the algorithms of 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 to think about efficiency, showing how we can combine artificial intelligence and our own intuition, leaving ourselves and our institutions open to learning from the random and the unexpected.


Edward Tenner is a distinguished scholar of the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and a visiting scholar in the Rutgers University Department of History. He was a visiting lecturer at the Humanities Council at Princeton, and has held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study and the University of Pennsylvania. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic, among others. He is the author, previously, of Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences. Richard K. Rein is the founding editor of U.S. 1, Princeton's business and entertainment weekly, and the editorial director of the monthly Princeton Echo. A Princeton University alumnus, Rein is writing a biography of urban anthropologist William H. Whyte, author of The Last LandscapeCity; and The Organization Man.


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