Statistics, lies and the case for experts
A colleague recently sent me this interesting article on how statistics are losing their power in a ‘post-truth’, privatised ‘big data’ society whereby the exponential growth of data is held in private hands unwilling to make data public.
Of course, knowledge is power and our ability to gain knowledge is in a large part based on our ability to convert data to information and information to knowledge. From there, we can make informed decisions.
At .id, we are frequently discussing the future of decision making, our data needs, and the needs of our clients. Some of our conclusions are:
- No matter how big data gets, it’s useless unless it can help answer important questions.
- Offering our clients the best quality data in a timely and compelling way is not negotiable.
- Sharing data and knowledge in the public domain enables a common basis on which facts and truths can be shared and debated, (and hopefully reasonably concluded upon).
- Data and information, no matter how compellingly presented using technological tools, requires considerable expertise for interpretation and conversion into good decision making.
On this last point, while we are hard at work providing ongoing technological improvements to the way we deliver data and information, we are working equally hard to offer excellent consulting services. In a ‘post-truth’ ‘big data’ environment, our ability to collaborate with our clients to apply our expertise is, I believe, central to what we do. However, the ability to undertake the conversion of data to knowledge and knowledge into good decisions nevertheless requires considerable expertise.