Data = not enough

The exponential growth in information is sometimes seen as a cure-all, as computers were in the 1970s. Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired magazine, wrote in 2008 that the sheer volume of data would obviate the need for theory, and even the scientific method.

This is an emphatically pro-science and pro-technology book, and I think of it as a very optimistic one. But it argues that these views are badly mistaken. The numbers have no way of speaking for themselves. We speak for them.

Data-driven predictions can succeed—and they can fail. It is when we deny our role in the process that the odds of failure rise. Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves.

Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise

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5 thoughts on “Data = not enough

    • From just the start of reading it, I think it’s interesting to get the perspective of a “practitioner” in the field of data. It makes for a different, more qualified view than is on offer in “The Information” by James Gleick. I recommend, but with caveats given I haven’t finished it!

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