We often use numbers to convey information or to carry out specific operations. In many cases numbers are explicit statements, not open to misinterpretation. Your phone number is in that category, so long as someone else is not using it for some nefarious purpose without your knowledge! Your age is also deterministic, even if you give someone the wrong number to mislead them.
But numbers often are only rough indications of a quantity. If you tell someone your weight, the number could well be an approximation of what you saw when you last stood on some scales. The media provides numbers on the rate of economic growth or unemployment that you take with a grain (or more) of salt because you are aware of how governments often provide misleading figures to suggest their policies are working.
Often numbers cause problems because they misrepresent the situation, as already noted. This can also occur in the operation of machinery. The Japanese devised a means of handling this problem by developing measures to process what they called 'fuzzy' data.
When you think about it, we have to try and make something out of a lot of fuzzy information. We know that often the meaning of information is biased by selective arguments or numbers. Smart people know that economic growth is illusionary because the ecological cost is not included. Goverments pursue economic growth because it tends to improve the materal standard of living as well as giving people employment. most people are taken in by this fuzzy views.
There are campaigns encouraging people to quit smoking because it can harm their health but there are no campaigns to encourge peolp to give up driving even though their cars are using up irreplaceable natural material wealth and doing irrevocable harm to the environment.this is but one example of the fuzzy perspective that people have.
But the most insidious fuzzy perspective is that money controls what happens in the operation of industrialized civilization.Money flow just governs the decisions (mainly fuzzy) but does little to grow understanding of the unsustainablity of industrialized civilization or of the damge being irreovcably done to flora and fauna as well as the environment.