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How Can Thick Data Improve the Way We Use Big Data?

Troy Sadkowsky - Friday, June 30, 2017

 

April 16, 2017

TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaOUJa9fjXU

Medium: https://medium.com/ethnography-matters/why-big-data-needs-thick-data-b4b3e75e3d7

Big data can help us solve problems, optimize services, predict the future and learn more about ourselves and human behavior. But when big data cannot answer a question, or makes an incorrect prediction, what if it is because data is not telling us the whole story?

In a Ted Talk and an article on Medium, Tricia Wang, a technology ethnographer, implores us to realize that, even in the age of data-driven decision making, big data can have some serious blind spots, and often suffers from a loss of context through valuable variables and trends that defy quantification.

Insights on contained systems, such as electricity grids or delivery logistics, have established big data’s reputation for success. Although this reputation has attracted investment from a huge array of companies, Wang claims, 73% of big data projects are not profitable, because big data projects frequently do not produce the insights that they seem to promise. For dynamic systems, especially those that depend on human emotions, behavior, and how people are impacted and interact with their environment, certain variables are difficult to measure and model.

She describes how opportunities can be gained and losses diminished by using big data in conjugation with “thick data”, observations that use qualitative methods to understand human emotions, behaviors and interactions with context. For example, the realization by ethnographer Graham McCracken that Netflix users actually enjoy binge-watching, led Netflix to redesign their user experience, improve their business and transform the way we consume media. Through qualitative research and collecting stories about how users interact with their product, Netflix was able to go to their data science team, validate these findings, and act on this competitive insight.

Wang summarizes that while “Thick Data loses scale…Big Data loses resolution.” While big data analytics can have a huge sample size, recognize large-scale patterns, and benefit from the strengths of machine learning, thick data uses small samples sizes, but understands subjects at a much greater depth, and benefits from aspects of human intelligence and pattern recognition that still elude computer programs. As data scientists, the more we understand the limitations of our methods and pay attention to thick data, the more we can recognize the factors and variables our data is missing. With a more holistic perspective, data analysis is better poised to uncover more truthful and powerful insights.

 

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How Can Thick Data Improve the Way We Use Big Data?

Troy Sadkowsky - Friday, June 30, 2017

 

April 16, 2017

TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaOUJa9fjXU

Medium: https://medium.com/ethnography-matters/why-big-data-needs-thick-data-b4b3e75e3d7

Big data can help us solve problems, optimize services, predict the future and learn more about ourselves and human behavior. But when big data cannot answer a question, or makes an incorrect prediction, what if it is because data is not telling us the whole story?

In a Ted Talk and an article on Medium, Tricia Wang, a technology ethnographer, implores us to realize that, even in the age of data-driven decision making, big data can have some serious blind spots, and often suffers from a loss of context through valuable variables and trends that defy quantification.

Insights on contained systems, such as electricity grids or delivery logistics, have established big data’s reputation for success. Although this reputation has attracted investment from a huge array of companies, Wang claims, 73% of big data projects are not profitable, because big data projects frequently do not produce the insights that they seem to promise. For dynamic systems, especially those that depend on human emotions, behavior, and how people are impacted and interact with their environment, certain variables are difficult to measure and model.

She describes how opportunities can be gained and losses diminished by using big data in conjugation with “thick data”, observations that use qualitative methods to understand human emotions, behaviors and interactions with context. For example, the realization by ethnographer Graham McCracken that Netflix users actually enjoy binge-watching, led Netflix to redesign their user experience, improve their business and transform the way we consume media. Through qualitative research and collecting stories about how users interact with their product, Netflix was able to go to their data science team, validate these findings, and act on this competitive insight.

Wang summarizes that while “Thick Data loses scale…Big Data loses resolution.” While big data analytics can have a huge sample size, recognize large-scale patterns, and benefit from the strengths of machine learning, thick data uses small samples sizes, but understands subjects at a much greater depth, and benefits from aspects of human intelligence and pattern recognition that still elude computer programs. As data scientists, the more we understand the limitations of our methods and pay attention to thick data, the more we can recognize the factors and variables our data is missing. With a more holistic perspective, data analysis is better poised to uncover more truthful and powerful insights.

 

Comments
Alethea commented on 29-Sep-2017 01:33 PM
I keep listening to the newscast lecture about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one.
Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

Also visit my web-site:jewelry offers lots
Oscar commented on 29-Sep-2017 10:18 PM
I know this website presents quality based articles and extra stuff, is there any other site which offers these data in quality?



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Alana commented on 30-Sep-2017 03:54 AM
Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in truth was a entertainment account it.
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Elvin commented on 30-Sep-2017 03:59 PM
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Angelia commented on 02-Oct-2017 02:14 AM
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Mittie commented on 05-Oct-2017 08:20 AM
I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup?
I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

Feel free to visit my web blog ::hidden items
Laurene commented on 05-Oct-2017 08:54 AM
Wow! Thank you! I continuously needed to write on my site something like that.
Can I implement a fragment of your post to my website?

My web-site ...Mother'S Day Gifts
online marketing commented on 05-Oct-2017 08:43 PM
After that, NO one would earn more than $250k.
Rosita commented on 05-Oct-2017 08:46 PM
I cling on to listening to the newscast talk about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one.
Could you tell me please, where could i find some?

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country-style commented on 06-Oct-2017 03:18 AM
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Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo
News? I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get
there! Cheers
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I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

Feel free to surf to my sitewhat sells On ebay
Magda commented on 08-Oct-2017 07:43 PM
I know this website gives quality dependent posts and extra information, is there any other web page which presents these data in quality?



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kniha commented on 09-Oct-2017 04:42 PM
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Amelie commented on 09-Oct-2017 05:19 PM
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Review my blog -pandora bracelet prices jareds

Post a Comment




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