The notion that we live in an increasingly consumer-based culture is not new, but the capacity for computers to reduce students to point-and-click robots in complicated virtual Skinner boxes should not be lost. Students are at risk of being increasingly met with boilerplate environments that are designed to reduce knowledge to its most clickable form.
Isn't it a moral violation that images we would never choose to look at pop up on our computers—AND INTO OUR HEADS—without our permission? I'm all for free speech (and images). But really, shouldn't we be able to not look?
For many years, we thought humans were rational. Homo economicus was the protagonist of the human story, and he knew what he was about. He was the James Bond of decision making, and he didn't let the universe push him around. The only problem was that he didn't exist.
Many a colorful figure have pointed out that a life is basically a statistical experience, made of moments like this one. If you put enough of those moments together, you learn to talk, fall in love, and grow old. If you're an economist, you can put a value on it. For a psychologist, the numbers sum to the ebb and flow of individuals, relationships, and cultures. On an even larger scale, evolution does the math. Statistical Life takes a data’s-eye-view on how these moments sum to us.