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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
Nissan Gtr Tuning Egypt commented on 13-May-2019 12:22 PM
You really maqke it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic
to be actually something that I thik I would neveer understand.
It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post,
I'll try to get the hang of it!
Alpha Genix XL Reviews commented on 13-May-2019 12:23 PM
Hello, i think that i noticed you visited my blog so i
got here to ?go back the want?.I am attempting to to
find things to improve my web site!I guess its ok to
make use of a few of your ideas!!
FolliPur Hair Regrowth commented on 13-May-2019 12:25 PM
Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text
in your content seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something
to do with browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know.
The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Cheers
Lara Croft Temples and Tombs commented on 13-May-2019 12:26 PM
Your greatest online gambling experiences start now.
Patch Rx Review commented on 13-May-2019 12:29 PM
This is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
Simple but very precise information? Many thanks for sharing
this one. A must read post!
Cognitive Mind Focus Patch Rx commented on 13-May-2019 12:31 PM
An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
I believe that you ought to publish more about this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but generally folks don't discuss such subjects.

To the next! Kind regards!!
FolliPur Review commented on 13-May-2019 12:36 PM
Now I am ready to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming again to read further news.
Wow Peach Cream commented on 13-May-2019 12:37 PM
What's up, I read your blog daily. Your writing style is awesome, keep
up the good work!
writes in the official Patchrx blog commented on 13-May-2019 12:37 PM
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as here every data is quality based information.
Max Keto Ultra Review commented on 13-May-2019 12:39 PM
Hello, Neat post. There is a problem along with your web site in internet explorer, could check this?
IE still is the marketplace chief and a large component
to folks will leave out your great writing because of this problem.
Select Essence Keto Reviews commented on 13-May-2019 12:44 PM
My brother suggested I might like this website.
He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You
can not imagine just how much time I had spent for
this info! Thanks!
back top commented on 13-May-2019 12:44 PM
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Tanisha commented on 13-May-2019 12:48 PM
Wohh I like your posts, bookmarked!
https://pureterra.net/ commented on 13-May-2019 12:51 PM
Hi there, You've done an incredible job.

I'll definitely digg it and for my part recommend to my friends.
I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.
Buford commented on 13-May-2019 12:58 PM
What's up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace,
when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create comment
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Jenifer commented on 13-May-2019 01:02 PM
In this model, they trimmed the USB ports to 2 but added wifi and lost compatibility using the PS2.
Exfactor's two year old season was adorned with some major wins with the grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes and also the Sugar Bowl Stakes. The stages look realistic with screaming teenaged fans and patrolling police officers.

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Keto Slim XT Review commented on 13-May-2019 01:29 PM
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I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up
my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
Any help would be really appreciated!

Post a Comment




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