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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
trusted advertising network commented on 15-Oct-2018 06:26 AM
It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd most certainly donate to this superb
blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
account. I look forward to fresh updates and will
share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!
locksmith commented on 15-Oct-2018 06:51 AM
I have read so many posts regarding the blogger lovers but this
post is truly a fastidious article, keep it up.
Ruthie commented on 15-Oct-2018 07:10 AM
If some one wishes to be updated with most up-to-date technologies afterward he
must be visit this web page and be up to date daily.
https://Forum.Cryptorescue.org commented on 15-Oct-2018 07:20 AM
It's actually very difficult in this active life to listen news on TV, thus I just use world wide web for that reason, and take the most up-to-date news.
forex forum commented on 15-Oct-2018 08:21 AM
certainly like your website but you need to take
a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the reality on the other hand I will definitely come again again.
It's the best time tto make some plans for thee future and it is time to be happy.
I've read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
Maybe you could write next articles referring to this
article. I want to read more things about it!
Mae commented on 15-Oct-2018 08:54 AM
I absolutely love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme.
Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I'm
hoping to create my own blog and would love
to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called.

Many thanks!
Obd protection commented on 15-Oct-2018 09:14 AM
Hi there to every body, it's my first visit off this weblog; this weblog carries amazing and truly
good information in favor of readers.
Conveyor for Clothes commented on 15-Oct-2018 09:15 AM
You really make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually something that I think I would by no means understand.

It seems too complex and extremely wide for me.
I'm having a look forward for your subsequent publish, I'll attempt to get the hold
of it!
car locksmith tampa commented on 15-Oct-2018 09:28 AM
Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks
swimming pools open near me today commented on 15-Oct-2018 09:37 AM
are you sure the are dancing to the right song?
movies online master commented on 15-Oct-2018 10:37 AM
What i don't realize is if truth be told how you are now not really a lot
more well-appreciated than you might be now. You're so intelligent.
You realize thus significantly when it comes to this matter,
produced me in my opinion imagine it from so many numerous
angles. Its like women and men don't seem to be fascinated except it is one thing to do with Lady gaga!
Your individual stuffs nice. All the time deal with it up!
rfid parking System cost commented on 15-Oct-2018 11:05 AM
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=). We can have a hyperlink alternate arrangement among us
Rfid parking management commented on 15-Oct-2018 11:18 AM
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Stay up the good work! You know, lots of individuals are hunting round for this information,
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Bm atego dtc remove commented on 15-Oct-2018 11:29 AM
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network advertising define commented on 15-Oct-2018 11:56 AM
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You've ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless
you man. Have a great day. Bye
Bell commented on 15-Oct-2018 12:04 PM
If you desire to increase your know-how just
keep visiting this website and be updated with the most up-to-date news update posted here.
geo-targeting commented on 15-Oct-2018 12:51 PM
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I'll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here frequently.
I'm somewhat sure I'll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the following!
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has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & aid different users like its aided me.
Goood job.
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I am reading this great paragraph to improve my knowledge.
Ang Kamay ng Diyos commented on 15-Oct-2018 02:23 PM
If some one wants to be updated with hottest technologies afterward he must be pay a visit this web site and be up
to date everyday.
locksmith tampa commented on 15-Oct-2018 02:32 PM
Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing the other person's webpage link on your
page at proper place and other person will also do same for you.
Garment conveyor commented on 15-Oct-2018 02:43 PM
Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a really good article… but what
can I say… I put things off a lot and don't manage to
get anything done.
locksmith near me commented on 15-Oct-2018 02:56 PM
Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great work.
link 188bet commented on 15-Oct-2018 03:50 PM
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