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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
Carin commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:03 PM
Maintain the great job and generating the crowd!

Here is my webpage ...types of accessories
Good day! I know this is kind off off topic but I was wondering if you
knew where I could get a captfha plugin for my comment form?
I'm usijg the same blog platform as your and I'm having difficulty finding one?

Thawnks a lot!
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Callie commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:28 PM
Your knowledge is really significant.

Look into my webpage;sound system
Https://www.Electronicrepairegypt.com/ commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:33 PM
whoah this weblog is great i love studying your posts.
Keep up the good work! You know, lotts of individuals
arre searching around for this info, you could aid them greatly.
domain name registration free email commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:34 PM
Domaikn Call foor you, so it is registered to you.
Orville commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:39 PM
1. InterNIC supervises of signing up domain.
women dating commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:43 PM
Each year, a huge number of Russian mail order brides arrive at western countries by marriage.
You may have to email a few dozen but before long you may have a storm of replies stating that "Yes" they do
require a husband. It may seem much more a small business arrangement but, my
understanding is the fact that, one's parents will certainly select the best possible
mate for child and their judgment is unclouded by hormones.
abs ecu repair cost commented on 16-Sep-2018 07:46 PM
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Glance complicated to more introduced agreeable from you!
By the way, how can we keep in touch?
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your magnificent writing due to this problem.
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new to me. Nonetheless, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll bee bookmarking and checking back frequently!
ecu decoding Software program commented on 16-Sep-2018 08:04 PM
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yet I never found aany intereesting article like yours.
It iss pretty worth enoughh for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers
made good content as you did, the web will be much mofe useful than evver before.
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anchortext commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:12 PM
(iii) You provide for the work, so conserve a professional attitude while confronting your customers.
Cross out any irrelevant ones and make your best that will put them into a logical order.
If you say because continuously, the one thing people
will likely be conscious of happens because - it will stifle your argument and it's also on top of their list of items you should avoid inside your academic work.
Forms County diy commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:12 PM
I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that's equally educative
and entertaining, and let me tell you, you
have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something too few people are speaking intelligently about.
I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
Ecu Repair Course commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:14 PM
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Regards
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Phim.Co.Za commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:24 PM
Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological globe
everything is available on net?
Meddata Services commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:25 PM
With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any
problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
My site has a lot of completely unique content I've either written myself
or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.

Do you know any ways to help prevent content from
being stolen? I'd genuinely appreciate it.
Chang commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:26 PM
Day-after-day, thousands of domains are registered.
doctor Database chennai commented on 16-Sep-2018 09:29 PM
Hello, i think that i saw you visited my
web site so i got here to ?return the favor?.I am attempting to to find things to improve my site!I assume its adequate
to use some of your ideas!!

Post a Comment




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