Tag: data science

David Pope 0
What do crime shows and data science have in common?

I enjoy watching TV crime series like Law and Order, Crime Series Investigation (CSI), CriminalMinds, Numb3rs, Person of Interest, as well as real-life mystery stories on shows like 20/20 and others. Obviously, the popularity of these types of shows means I'm not the only one who enjoys this type of entertainment. Here at SAS,

Jim Harris 0
As the butter churns in Bangladesh

“Correlation does not imply causation” is a saying commonly heard in science and statistics emphasizing that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one variable causes the other. One example of this is the relationship between rain and umbrellas. People buy more umbrellas when it rains. This

Jim Harris 0
Errors, lies, and big data

My previous post pondered the term disestimation, coined by Charles Seife in his book Proofiness: How You’re Being Fooled by the Numbers to warn us about understating or ignoring the uncertainties surrounding a number, mistaking it for a fact instead of the error-prone estimate that it really is. Sometimes this fact appears to

Jim Harris 0
Data science versus narrative psychology

My previous post explained how confirmation bias can prevent you from behaving like the natural data scientist you like to imagine you are by driving your decision making toward data that confirms your existing beliefs. This post tells the story of another cognitive bias that works against data science. Consider the following scenario: Company-wide

Jim Harris 0
Data science and decision science

Data science, as Deepinder Dhingra recently blogged, “is essentially an intersection of math and technology skills.” Individuals with these skills have been labeled data scientists and organizations are competing to hire them. “But what organizations need,” Dhingra explained, “are individuals who, in addition to math and technology, can bring in

Jim Harris 0
Being data-driven means being question-driven

At the Journalism Interactive 2014 conference, Derek Willis spoke about interviewing data, his advice for becoming a data-driven journalist. “The bulk of the skills involved in interviewing people and interviewing data are actually pretty similar,” Willis explained. “We want to get to know it a little bit. We want to figure

Jim Harris 0
A double take on sampling

My previous post made the point that it’s not a matter of whether it is good for you to use samples, but how good the sample you are using is. The comments on that post raised two different, and valid, perspectives about sampling. These viewpoints reflected two different use cases for data,

Jim Harris 0
Survey says sampling still sensible

In my previous post, I discussed sampling error (i.e., when a randomly chosen sample doesn’t reflect the underlying population, aka margin of error) and sampling bias (i.e., when the sample isn’t randomly chosen at all), both of which big data advocates often claim can, and should, be overcome by using all the data. In this

Jim Harris 0
What we find in found data

In his recent Financial Times article, Tim Harford explained the big data that interests many companies is what we might call found data – the digital exhaust from our web searches, our status updates on social networks, our credit card purchases and our mobile devices pinging the nearest cellular or WiFi network.

Jim Harris 0
The dark side of the mood

As an unabashed lover of data, I am thrilled to be living and working in our increasingly data-constructed world. One new type of data analysis eliciting strong emotional reactions these days is the sentiment analysis of the directly digitized feedback from customers provided via their online reviews, emails, voicemails, text messages and social networking

Jim Harris 0
Lean against bias for accurate analytics

We sometimes describe the potential of big data analytics as letting the data tell its story, casting the data scientist as storyteller. While the journalist has long been a newscaster, in recent years the term data-driven journalism has been adopted to describe the process of using big data analytics to

Jim Harris 0
Big data hubris

While big data is rife with potential, as Larry Greenemeier explained in his recent Scientific American blog post Why Big Data Isn’t Necessarily Better Data, context is often lacking when data is pulled from disparate sources, leading to questionable conclusions. His blog post examined the difficulties that Google Flu Trends

Jim Harris 0
What magic teaches us about data science

Teller, the normally silent half of the magician duo Penn & Teller, revealed some of magic’s secrets in a Smithsonian Magazine article about how magicians manipulate the human mind. Given the big data-fueled potential of data science to manipulate our decision-making, we should listen to what Teller has to tell

Jim Harris 0
What Mozart for Babies teaches us about data science

Were you a mother who listened to classical music during your pregnancy, or a parent who played classical music in your newborn baby’s nursery because you heard it stimulates creativity and improves intelligence? If so, do you know where this “classical music makes you smarter” idea came from? In 1993, a

Jim Harris 0
The architects of the invisible

In the era of big data, Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schonberger noted in their book Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, “we are in the midst of a great infrastructure project that in some ways rivals those of the past, from the Roman aqueducts

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