5/23/2012

Data Science vs. Shaman

With the rise of Big Data, comes the importance of Data Science.

Predicting future events based on analysis of past data trends.

It seems you can only predict within the subset of data you are working with.

If you have data for the NE and SE regions of the US, you can't predict the results of the NE US.

So that would infer learning the unknowns amongst the unknowns is really more talk than actuality.

Sure you could extrapolate patterns and predict future events, but the probability would probably not be that great.

It seems to me that Data Science role has been around a lot longer than people think.

Back in the day of tribal society's, they had Shamans, who provided service to the tribal leaders.

They would forecast the rains, the food, health, they were healers who delved into unknown worlds and returned with nuggets of wisdom to help their tribe.

Similar to the modern Data Science.

However, if  you ask me, I'd prefer the wisdom from the Shaman if I had my choice.

Science alone is good, however, without Intuition, it's kind of making a decision in a vacuum.

I think of the story of 4 people describing what they think is in the dark room based on physical attributes such as touch, taste, feel, sight, etc.

The thing in the middle of the room is an elephant, except everyone describes something different.

Moral of the story, Data Science is a good thing, mixed with intuition, business experience, and should be taken with some grains of salt, as there are plenty of failure points between the data and business decision.

After significant evaluation of prior trends mashed with multiple sets of data, I would give about a 50/50 chance of being correct on this tidbit.

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