HomeMedia DigitalIf you put numbers, 7.951 million people will be interested

If you put numbers, 7.951 million people will be interested

Numbers, what strength they have and what strength they give, are an important resource for rhetoric, for communication, for politics, for business, for the economy, for solving problems, why?

If the object being counted is additionally added to the numbers, an object that helps ground the image with a more vivid experience, the better, the greater the hook, the greater the effect is achieved.

What meaning and meaning do numbers have in our lives?

With numbers we learned to count things in the real world, mainly by touching them; With numbers we learned to measure, in length, area and volume, pressure, temperature, mass, etc.; With numbers we learned to quantify characteristics of that reality. Hence the meaning and sense of reality that we give to numbers. Then, with arithmetic, calculus and algebra, numbers moved away from concrete reality, they became abstract.

There are expressions that have been popularized by oral tradition such as, for example: “God speaks through numbers”, another similar one, in the 7th century, Saint Isidro of Seville stated: “Remove the number of things and they will all be destroyed.” What is the origin, the context of these expressions that relate numbers to God? Are they a way of talking about his power in a figurative sense?

Who communicates seeks to represent a real event that he witnessed or an idea resulting from his imagination or memory, if he adds to the story or story the numbers and objects known to his audience, counting or measuring increases attention and motivation, improving perception, understanding and communication.

How often do you ask your interlocutors in a conversation to specify how much? Why?

If you plan, direct, decide, govern you need to have numbers, to know where you are, where you are going and if it is going well.

The numbers indicate concreteness, seriousness, importance, knowledge. This does not mean that numbers are proof of truth, this will always have to be sought with investigation into reality, deliberation, debate and reflection. Mission for which journalists are prepared.

Those who are action-oriented want numbers and objects.

Whoever wants to convince with his speech wants numbers and big ones.

Let's see three examples, commented

1.-Note reviewed by Forbes

Goldman Sachs predicts that artificial intelligence will lose or demote 300 million jobs


Title of the Goldman Sachs report referenced by Forbes

The potentially important effects of artificial intelligence on economic growth (Briggs/Kodnani)


The report presents estimates of the large potential effects of Artificial Intelligence on economic growth in the US and Europe.

It points to the exposure to automation due to Artificial Generative Intelligence (GAI) of 300 million jobs, whose tasks could be affected, partially in two-thirds of all jobs, fully in a quarter of all jobs, in the US. and Europe.

It will take two decades to exceed the threshold of 50% adoption of these technological innovations by the American population; example: the electric motor (1899) and personal computer (1981); It is from this moment that the effects on the increase in labor productivity are appreciated.

In the first note, that of the social media Forbes, you can notice not only the use of the number and the object in the title to capture attention: “300 million jobs”, but also the exploitation of the cognitive bias known as “ Aversion to dispossession or aversion to loss (endowment effect)”, taking advantage of the greater value that the audience assigns to loss.

Likewise, there is a subtle but important change that turns the informative note, in our opinion, into propaganda - content for "marketing" - it talks about a Goldman Sachs prediction, something that does not appear anywhere in the analysts' report, it says of loss and degradation when the original report talks about potential effects.

2.-On May 24, Elon Musk in his X account released a post

“A reminder that the earth is almost empty, contrary to what many people think.” Citing an article from the site wait but why, which was titled 7.300 billion people, a building (waitbutwhy, March 3, 2015).

The title of the wait buy why note: “7,3 billion people, one building”

March 3, 2015 By Tim Urban

We share some excerpts from the article to illustrate how much numbers help to communicate, to count and to measure, with the associated object:

“If every living human being were represented by a dry grain of rice, the rice would fill a cube-shaped box with a side of 6,1 meters,…,approximately the size of a two-story house.”

“How about 7.300 billion grains of sand? …7.300 billion “very coarse” grains (about 2 mm in diameter) would fill a large cubic room with a height of 4 meters …7.300 billion of the finest grains of sand, 0,0625 mm (if they were smaller, They would no longer be sand, but silt) would take up about 1.700 cubic centimeters of space, almost, but not quite, filling a 2-liter soda bottle.”

“When arranging humans in two dimensions, the first question we must ask is: “How much land area does each human need when we group them all together as closely as possible without killing everyone?” The answer, for this post, is 0,1 square meters, which gives us a rate of 10 people per square meter”

“the land we would need to house everyone: all 7.300 billion of us. And the answer is a square of 27 km x 27 km (16,8 mi x 16,8 mi).” a little less than the New York City area.

Just a comment on the contrast of the attention aroused by the wording of Elon Musk's post with the title and content of the article he cites.

3.-On May 20, in a speech by Elon Musk at the Tenth World Water Forum, he said the following:

What was reviewed in a post on the social media linkedin: “To cover the energy demand of the US, an area of ​​less than 200 km X 200 km would be needed with an array of solar panels. “A small section of the Sahara could supply the energy demand of all of Europe or the World.” (10th World Water Forum 2024, 20-5-2024)

Again, the number in the statement lands the idea, adds reality to the image that is created in the audience. As you can see, an image says more than a thousand words, which is why it must be anchored in reality.

A curiosity, a little out of place but worrying, this event took place between May 18 and 25, in the city of Bali, Indonesia and had no impact on the main social media in the world, much less in the national ones. Could it be that the world water crisis is no longer of concern? Could it be that the problem of water scarcity has been resolved, which I understand was getting worse with global warming?

These questions make me reinterpret Musk's brief intervention (~ 9 minutes) in the forum, cited above with its link, he talked about: a solution with solar energy panels, desalination technology, the decrease in its costs, And of the abundance of water on the planet, more than two-thirds is water. Nah, could it be that Musk has already identified a business opportunity where the world saw a problem of energy and fresh water shortages?

A general comment, Mcluhan dedicates a chapter to numbers in his book “Understanding the Media: the extensions of the human being” (1996). I share one of its parts:

“In isolation, the number is as mysterious as the writing. Seen as an extension of the physical body, it is very intelligible. Just as writing is an extension and separation of our most neutral and objective sense, that of sight, number is an extension and separation of our most intimate related activity: the sense of touch.”

“…In each and every one of their manifestations, numbers seem to have both an auditory and repetitive resonance, as well as a tactile dimension…It is the quality of the number that explains its power to create an icon effect or compressed inclusive image…”

“…Numbers, both people, figures and monetary units, seem to possess the same objective magic to grasp and incorporate.”

At the beginning of this writing it had been titled “an image with numbers seems real”, as a result of reflection it was changed to: “If you put numbers on it, 7.951 million people will be interested.”

What to do?

.-I could say many things, but for now I would only recommend: educate subjects in relation to mediations, as competence, involved in both communication processes and cognition processes. This is the best antidote or vaccine against the “Deep Fake”, misinformation, half-truths, confusion, post-truth.

Leave a response

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here