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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
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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
sd sd commented on 26-Oct-2017 11:51 AM
My neighbor and I have been simply debating this specific topic, he’s usually seeking to prove me incorrect. Your view on that is nice and precisely how I really feel. I simply now mailed him this website to indicate him your personal view. After looking over your website I e book marked and can be coming back to learn your new posts!
sd sd commented on 26-Oct-2017 02:58 PM
Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog prior to but right after reading as a result of some of the submit I recognized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m surely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back again often!
Yolando Kreider commented on 31-Oct-2017 06:26 PM
if u like free hack tools for phones and pc check out http://someone-you-know-naked.com/
Orlando commented on 02-Nov-2017 04:07 PM
As I site possessor I believe the content material here is rattling great , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Best of luck.
Ellis commented on 04-Nov-2017 04:14 AM
fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!
Emile commented on 04-Nov-2017 05:05 AM
I was completely loving Star Trek up to this movie sinking, poorly conceived, terribly transparent plot point.
Chelsea commented on 06-Nov-2017 03:12 PM
I believe you have mentioned some very interesting details, thank you for the post.



My website:public Higher education in california
Rod commented on 07-Nov-2017 06:19 AM
You produced some decent points there. I looked online for any issue and discovered most individuals may go in conjunction with with your web site.
Desert Safari commented on 09-Nov-2017 11:12 PM
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Michael commented on 15-Nov-2017 03:37 PM
Thanks a lot. Plenty of forum posts! https://bucketlist.org/idea/6LiG/ideas-to-assist-properly-deal-with-nervousness/
Michael commented on 17-Nov-2017 06:34 PM
You actually reported this exceptionally well! https://bucketlist.org/idea/6LiG/ideas-to-assist-properly-deal-with-nervousness/
Karissa commented on 18-Nov-2017 04:46 PM
This text is invaluable. How can I find out more?


my webpageSix Pack Crunches
Stephanie commented on 22-Nov-2017 02:44 AM
fantastic publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not realize this.

You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers' base already!

my site;Siliconvalley.stock-options-picks.com
Michael commented on 22-Nov-2017 02:24 PM
Nicely put. Many thanks! https://bucketlist.org/idea/6LiG/ideas-to-assist-properly-deal-with-nervousness/
Tina commented on 23-Nov-2017 07:00 AM
Very quickly this web page will be famous amid all blogging people, due to it's pleasant articles

Here is my web blog:Https://Linopoland403.Joomla.Com
tea commented on 24-Nov-2017 10:44 PM
Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice even as you amend your web site,
how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a
acceptable deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided
brilliant clear concept
Alysa commented on 29-Nov-2017 12:50 AM
I like the helpful info you provide to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here regularly.
I'm relatively certain I'll be informed a lot of new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the next!

Also visit my web page ... univer.tneu.edu.ua
Warren commented on 29-Nov-2017 12:00 PM
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Michael commented on 04-Dec-2017 06:01 PM
Nicely put, Thanks. https://bucketlist.org/idea/6LiG/ideas-to-assist-properly-deal-with-nervousness/
Cheap Campervan commented on 06-Dec-2017 01:43 PM
This is very attention-grabbing, You are a very professional blogger.
I have joined your feed and look forward to in quest of extra of your
great post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks
Gloria commented on 07-Dec-2017 11:48 PM
Ridiculous quest there. What happened after? Take care!


Feel free to visit my pageenergy Conservation
Fiona commented on 08-Dec-2017 02:40 PM
Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a
sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her
ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!
Ava commented on 13-Dec-2017 05:43 AM
Great post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I'm inspired!

Very useful information particularly the last part :) I maintain such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

Feel free to surf to my blog post -Few Internet

Post a Comment




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