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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
Erick commented on 19-Jan-2018 08:57 PM
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Feel free to visit my web blogHonest Ebay Seller
Octavio commented on 19-Jan-2018 10:12 PM
Thank you for sharing with us, I believe this website truly stands out :D.


Also visit my page ::make money on ebay
Darrin commented on 24-Jan-2018 10:34 AM
Hello I am so excited I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don't have time to go through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome job.


Feel free to visit my web site; Search Engine Optimization
Lupe commented on 24-Jan-2018 07:37 PM
Greetings! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
My blog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!

Here is my webpage ...Armani watch
Aimee commented on 25-Jan-2018 07:29 AM
Hello there I am so delighted I found your weblog, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Google for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don't have time to look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.


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Milo commented on 26-Jan-2018 01:40 AM
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CarmellaSmall commented on 26-Jan-2018 02:19 AM
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unique content, search for; Boorfe's tips unlimited content
Audry commented on 27-Jan-2018 11:18 PM
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Isidro commented on 28-Jan-2018 09:17 AM
Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

Review my page - Gorgeous Stuhrling
Antonina Mares commented on 31-Jan-2018 09:40 AM
This really takes investing to the next level and helps anyone become a pro. I personally got started about 2 weeks ago investing and I'm already making profit and did it all thanks to the help of an app. It also includes a free stock to start off, literally anyone can do this. I'm sure this will provide tremendous value to anyone that sees this. You can check it out here: bit.ly/FREEStocks
Australia Campervan Hire commented on 01-Feb-2018 11:27 AM
Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the great
effort.
Korona królów odcinek 6 online commented on 02-Feb-2018 12:10 AM
Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you're working with?
I'm looking to start my own blog soon but I'm having a
hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and
I'm looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I
had to ask!
Elke Youngstrom commented on 02-Feb-2018 04:47 PM
This really takes investing to the next level and helps anyone become a pro. I personally got started about 2 weeks ago investing and I'm already making profit and did it all thanks to the help of an app. It also includes a free stock to start off, literally anyone can do this. I'm sure this will provide tremendous value to anyone that sees this. You can check it out here: bit.ly/FREEStocks
2GIG Wireless Alarms commented on 03-Feb-2018 05:42 PM
Great stuff! Difficult to find this type of data lately. Not really clear why. I do have a few questions but want to re-read first before typing something really dumb. Appreciate it.
Tammi commented on 04-Feb-2018 09:41 AM
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Lon Bradicich commented on 06-Feb-2018 10:49 PM
Such a great post. This is one of the best posts on datascientists.org

I don't know if you like reading books. If yes, then Amazon is offering 1 month free of unlimited reading from over 1 million ebooks and unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks: https://unlimitedbooksazon.blogspot.com/

I want to share this with you to thank you for sharing such useful information.
Lauren Conrad commented on 09-Feb-2018 08:13 AM
hello!,I love your writing so a lot! percentage we keep in touch more
approximately your article on AOL? I require a specialist in this space to solve my problem.
May be that is you! Looking ahead to look you.
Mp3skull commented on 11-Feb-2018 08:40 AM
Some genuinely prize posts on this website, saved to fav.
Learn How to Make Money Online commented on 11-Feb-2018 09:48 PM
Don't struggle to make money online. Simply follow ur step by step blueprint. Making money online is getting harder and harder but with this little known trick you can start earning almost immediately. This actually works I have tried and tested the method myself and after 20 years as an internet marketer little golden nuggets like this are hard to find. Watch this short video to learn more and start earning today.http://bit.ly/-GoogleSniper
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I did however expertise some technical points using this
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Not thjat I am complaining, but slow loading instances times
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advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I'm adding this RSS to my e-mail and
can look out for a lot more of your respective fascinating content.
Make sure you update this again very soon.
Did you miss out on Bitcoin? commented on 21-Feb-2018 08:12 PM
If you didn’t invest in Bitcoin, you may feel like you missed out. So you’re going to need to trust us when we say that cryptocurrency is just now REALLY getting moving...and there are new developments in blockchain technology and currency tokens that might dwarf 2017. In fact, we know of two new coins that may very well grow well beyond Bitcoin in the near future. Interested? All you need to do is click here to find out more. http://bit.ly/-cryptocurrency Best regards
Are you thinking about buying Bitcoin? commented on 22-Feb-2018 05:46 AM
If you didn’t invest in Bitcoin, you may feel like you missed out. So you’re going to need to trust us when we say that cryptocurrency is just now REALLY getting moving...and there are new developments in blockchain technology and currency tokens that might dwarf 2017. In fact, we know of two new coins that may very well grow well beyond Bitcoin in the near future. Interested? All you need to do is click here to find out more. http://bit.ly/-cryptocurrency Best regards

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