Over the past 30 years, and increasingly the last 10 years, we have seen the rise of the quants, which Felix Salmon defined in his article "Why Quants Don’t Know Everything" as “people whose native tongue is numbers and algorithms and systems rather than personal relationships or human intuition. They find numerical patterns or invent ingenious algorithms that increase profits or solve problems in ways that no amount of subjective experience can match.”

Quants have risen to prominence in fields as diverse as sports, politics, stock trading, and dating. However, after a field has become quantified, it doesn’t become a data-driven paradise, Salmon cautioned. “The more a field is run by a system, the more that system creates incentives for everyone (employees, customers, competitors) to change their behavior in perverse ways, providing more of whatever the system is designed to measure and produce, whether that actually creates any value or not.”

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