As the author is writing this column, it seems as if all the commentators and critics in the world have had their final say on the UK's Brexit vote, the US presidential election, and swings in voter opinion across the European Union (EU). The turmoil that has engulfed the policy world was brought home for me this past fall, when Matt Sedensky wrote an article on Big Data's "big miss" not long after Donald Trump's surprise win turned conventional wisdom upside down. The article summed up a familiar problem people have long known about -- and that keeps changing with the times. This problem has gone by many names over the years, but one in particular has staying power and speaks to contemporary realities: garbage in, garbage out. Of course, data management realities have definitely changed with the times, but the central dilemma remains the same: The data we access and interpret is only as good as its content.
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