Escape from Model Land


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About the Author

Erica Thompson is a senior policy fellow at the London School of Economics' Data Science Institute and a fellow of the London Mathematical Laboratory. With a PhD from Imperial College, she has recently worked on the limitations of models of COVID-19 spread, humanitarian crises, and climate change. She lives in West Wales.


A brilliant account of how models are so often abused and of how they should be used
*John Kay*

A wise, lucid and compelling guide to how mathematical modelling shapes our world. Dr Thompson teaches us how to go from being unthinking consumers of models to sophisticated users, combining a rich variety of vivid examples and case studies with deep conceptual expertise
*Stian Westlake, CEO, Royal Statistical Society*

Demystifies the process of making the mathematical models that are increasingly used to make decisions about our lives . . . A thought-provoking and helpful guide for data scientists and decision makers alike
*Stephanie Hare, author of TECHNOLOGY IS NOT NEUTRAL*

Carefully researched and beautifully written . . . For an open-minded reader keen to expose, understand and potentially reconstruct their own worldview, Escape from Model Land is, at the same time, an uncomfortable and uplifting read. It shines a gentle light on many of our own norms and beliefs
*Kevin Anderson*

An eye-opening account . . . Thompson offers a host of lessons . . . The result is a thoughtful, convincing look at how data works
*Publisher's Weekly*

Brilliant . . . a highly engaging work of popular science
*E&T Magazine*

[A] healthy realism about data, algorithms and their limitations . . . Thompson asks data scientists to be conscious of the choices and values in a model's design . . . [offering] the basis for a constructive agenda
*The Economist*

Data, computing power, AI, and the models that use them will continue to proliferate. The wisdom, life experience, and humility to make the best use of those powerful tools will remain scarce. This delightfully wide-ranging book offers heaps of the latter to help us generate genuine insights from the former
*Charles J. Wheelan, bestselling author of NAKED STATISTICS*

Offers a contemplative, densely encapsulated summary of her reflection and research . . . it's up to us to learn from models without being drawn in by their seductive elegance, and to ensure that the lessons from Model Land find substantive expression where it actually matters: in our messy, material, magnificent world
*Wall Street Journal*

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