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On Small Data, Part 1: Data Science With a Human Face
Information Today - Medford
Author: Howley, Brendan
Date: May 2017
Start Page: 14
Pages: 2
Abstract (Document Summary)
The exponential rate of increase in data generation might yet approach the speed of light-a quintillion of anything is a very large number indeed (1 followed by 18 zeros or 1,000 to the 6th power). The point is that if this keeps up-and it will- we may be in for a whole new way of thinking about the scale of data, given quantum computing. [...]the stratospheric expectations of Big Data's utility raise all manner of questions about just how these outputs will be used-the real-world utility of all this raw information that still needs to be interpreted by real live humans, with rigor and a clear degree of intellectual honesty, using their human brains. (The recent congressional vote to overturn existing consumer protections for personal telecommunications data-a travesty, if you ask me-to monetize, involuntarily, all of a private citizen's personal data, should politicize this issue nicely. The human factor is one part of the Big Data story, which the University of California-Berkeley professor Michael Jordan, seen by many as the father of machine learning, addressed in a 2014 interview (bit .ly/1rnUAct): When you have large amounts of data, your appetite for hypotheses tends to get even larger. If I just look at all the people who have a heart attack and compare them to all the people that don't have a heart attack, and I'm looking for combinations of the columns that predict heart attacks, I will find all kinds of spurious combinations of columns, because there are huge numbers...
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