Mythics Blog

A Little Perspective on Big Data

Posted on April 11, 2013 by Richard Walters

Tags: Mythics Consulting

My kids are big fans of the movie "Ratatouille."  One of the characters, a food critic named Anton Ego, has a wonderful response when asked what he wants for dinner.  He says he wants "a little perspective."  That line comes to mind every time I read yet another article about Big Data.  The subject gets so much hype that one might be forgiven for thinking it's the path to business enlightenment.  I'm a big believer in the power of data-driven decisions, but remain leery of any "solution" with so much marketing muscle behind it.  I was thus very pleased to read a recent article ("The Hidden Biases of Big Data")  by Kate Crawford on the Harvard Business Review website  (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/the_hidden_biases_in_big_data.html).  Ms. Crawford notes that Big Data, like any analytics approach, does not remove the need for sound judgment about the sources of the data and alternative explanations for patterns in it. She has some great examples to illustrate the point.  As anyone who has taken stats knows, correlation does not equal causation.  

Enjoy the article..it serves up well, I think, "a little perspective." 

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