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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
dominobet commented on 12-Feb-2019 06:00 AM
Hi there, this weekend is nice for me, for the reason that
this point in time i am reading this fantastic informative post here at my residence.
{Phentermine Alternative | commented on 12-Feb-2019 06:25 AM
I happen to be commenting to make you be aware of of the exceptional experience our princess undergone using the blog.
She mastered numerous pieces, not to mention what
it's like to possess an amazing giving heart to get other individuals without
problems completely grasp specified extremely tough things.
You really surpassed my expectations. Thanks for showing these practical,
trustworthy, explanatory as well as easy thoughts on this topic to
Gloria.
IntenseX Male Enhancement: Customer Reviews commented on 12-Feb-2019 06:43 AM
Awesome blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like
Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that
I'm completely confused .. Any ideas? Many thanks!
Helaine commented on 12-Feb-2019 07:01 AM
It's amazing in support of me to have a web page, which is good designed for my know-how.
thanks admin
Home Theatre system commented on 12-Feb-2019 07:40 AM
It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd certainly donate to this fantastic blog!
I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed
to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and
will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Chat
soon!
Candelaria commented on 12-Feb-2019 07:42 AM
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I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or advice.
Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
I wish to read more things about it!
Wyatt commented on 12-Feb-2019 09:54 AM
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I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great writing, have a nice weekend!
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to improve your skills and capabilities while playing with others at your skill level.
None the less, the common point to remember is Ivey just isn’t staring blankly thinking about what’s
for dinner; he is reading his opponent and determining what type of player he or she is.
Phenterage Garcinia Reviews commented on 12-Feb-2019 12:25 PM
Hiya, I'm really glad I've found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and web
and this is really frustrating. A good blog with interesting content, that is what I need.
Thanks for keeping this web site, I will be visiting
it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.
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impressed! Very helpful information particularly the final
phase :) I take care of such information a
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Marko commented on 12-Feb-2019 12:46 PM
As soon as I discovered this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.


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examples Skills Development commented on 12-Feb-2019 01:31 PM
Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a
25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.
I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!
Mercedes commented on 12-Feb-2019 01:33 PM
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Trialix Male Enhancement commented on 12-Feb-2019 01:35 PM
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You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you
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Wonderful stuff, just great!
Mittie commented on 12-Feb-2019 02:06 PM
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Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

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Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as
much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to
read, but I genuinely believed you'd have something helpful to talk
about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something
you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching
for attention.
ECU BOOK commented on 12-Feb-2019 03:43 PM
You can certainly see your skills within the
work you write. The sector hopes ffor more passiknate
writers like you who aren't afraid to mention howw they believe.

At all timmes follow your heart.
News website design Examples commented on 12-Feb-2019 04:06 PM
Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the
images on this blog loading? I'm trying to find out if its a problem on my
end or if it's the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
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