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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
Terrell commented on 04-Jul-2017 02:10 PM
Having read this I believed it was very informative.
I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Here is my weblog; Michael Kors Watch Men Gold
Terri commented on 07-Jul-2017 06:51 AM
Excellent blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm totally confused .. Any tips? Thanks!

Also visit my web page ::Online Jewelry Store
Annette commented on 16-Jul-2017 01:04 AM
Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening.

I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Also visit my web page:Continuously shifting purses
Frederick commented on 16-Jul-2017 03:41 AM
It�s nearly impossible to find well-informed people about this subject, however, you sound like you know what you�re talking about!

Thanks

My homepage -search engine Robots
Christy commented on 16-Jul-2017 05:41 AM
Hi there, this weekend is pleasant in favor of me, since this occasion i am reading this impressive informative post here at my home.


my blog post ...ebay system
Trey commented on 17-Jul-2017 05:44 AM
I carry on listening to the rumor talk about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one.
Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

Stop by my web site :: Kors Handbags Struggling
Roma commented on 18-Jul-2017 04:41 AM
It�s hard to come by well-informed people on this topic, but you seem like you know what you�re talking about!

Thanks

Feel free to visit my webpage:Wordpress dashboard
Hanna commented on 19-Jul-2017 01:35 AM
Greetings from Florida! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
I love the information you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb blog!

My blog;Ebay corporations
Augustus commented on 19-Jul-2017 02:40 PM
Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.

I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Also visit my web page -michael kors watch women gold and silver
Dana commented on 20-Jul-2017 07:28 AM
As a Newbie, I am continuously browsing online for articles that can help me.
Thank you

My page -michael Kors Sneakers
Anneliese commented on 20-Jul-2017 08:09 PM
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I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

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Freddy commented on 21-Jul-2017 02:10 AM
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skyrim commented on 22-Jul-2017 04:26 AM
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campervan commented on 02-Aug-2017 08:16 AM
I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own weblog and
was wondering what all is needed to get set up?
I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% certain.
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Appreciate it
robert commented on 02-Aug-2017 10:10 PM
a great list, can i add this site
Jayne commented on 15-Aug-2017 10:13 PM
Hey! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!

My site: michael kors launched
Demetra commented on 17-Aug-2017 08:30 AM
Good blog you have here.. It�s hard to find quality writing like yours these days.
I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

Here is my blog post:michael Kors perfume
Magdalena commented on 19-Aug-2017 08:02 AM
Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together.
I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Also visit my blog - http://topliste.mollige-frauen.com/index.php?a=stats&u=janamcdonough
Stephaine commented on 24-Aug-2017 02:18 PM
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Can I take a part of your post to my website?

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Clement commented on 28-Aug-2017 03:21 AM
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Kristy commented on 28-Aug-2017 04:27 AM
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I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

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ciri ciri hiv aids commented on 31-Aug-2017 05:06 AM
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Sandra commented on 01-Sep-2017 03:10 AM
I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your site?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

My blog post ...Credit card
Coy commented on 02-Sep-2017 12:18 AM
Hi I am so thrilled I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don't have time to read 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 awesome work.



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cara masak ayam masak merah commented on 02-Sep-2017 12:59 AM
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For The Information

Post a Comment




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