State of Data #115
September 7, 2012
Alex Pentland, one of the most-cited computer scientists, on ‘Reinventing Society in the Wake of Big Data’
“With Big Data traditional methods of system building are of limited use. The data is so big that any question you ask about it will usually have a statistically significant answer. This means, strangely, that the scientific method as we normally use it no longer works, because almost everything is significant!”
e.g., on data finding that virtually every families in urban Brazil owned a television –
This was not a huge surprise — any report can tell you the rising percentage of technology ownership among families in emerging markets. But when we dug deeper, we learned that the TVs were not status symbols or signs of increasing wealth; they were safeguards. Because of the violence prevalent in the favelas where these families lived, parents feared their children going out at night. What these parents really wanted was a way to make the living room more entertaining than the streets.
Is QWERTY the most optimal keyboard format for touchscreens? WORST layout, based on data is –
Sometimes we all ‘see’ (or, write!) code like this
Does every company need a “Data Dictator”?
“Aetna is a good example. In 2002, Ron Williams is president, and he says, “Okay, we lost about $270 million last year. Let’s figure out what went wrong.” He brings in all of his senior execs, and he says, “Tell me about your part of the business.” And he said that every single line of business showed data showing they were making a profit. “
‘..compared rates of crime with rates of belief in heaven and hell in 67 countries’
- Gapminder World 2012
- Social Media by Numbers
- Analyze your Facebook profile with Wolfram Alpha
- Google visualizes Global Small Arms & Ammunition supply