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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
Good post.Ne'er knew this, thank you for letting me know.
Having read this I believed it was really enlightening.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together.
I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments.
But so what, it was still worth it!
Johnie commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:20 AM
Greetings, I do believe your web site could possibly be having web browser compatibility problems.
Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent site!

My blog post:solar panel together
I am not really superb with English but I find this very leisurely
to read.
The Dietary Lab Keto Pills commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:24 AM
I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as
nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty.
You're incredible! Thanks!
Virgilio commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:27 AM
For instance, in case you required publicizing a web site inclined toward World Wide Web marketing techniques, you would need to incorporate this keyword since division of one's search term.
The step to create a successful website is the promotion and the building links strategy. That is a right method to obtain traffic however the necessities for participation depend with the blogger.

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I'm not sure why but this web site is loading
very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?

I'll check back later on and see if the problem
still exists.
Annabelle commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:35 AM
Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!


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http://alturl.com/cqo6i commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:39 AM
Right now it seems like Expression Engine is the top blogging platform
out there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?
You have made some good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people
will go along with your views on this website.
Kathryn commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:49 AM
After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment.

There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

My site ::obama Care plan health Insurance
Mollie commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:51 AM
I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

Plz respond as I'm looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. cheers

my page fashion cheap purses
Clarice commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:52 AM
I also conceive thence, perfectly indited post!

my page;solar panel
I still can't quite believe I could always be one of those studying
the important recommendations found on your site.
My family and I are really thankful for your generosity and for giving me the chance to pursue the chosen career path.
Thank you for the important information I got from your site.
http://www.negoce-outils.fr/user/profile/134 commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:58 AM
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Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!
Appreciation to my father who told me about this website, this
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Dorcas commented on 29-Jun-2019 07:59 AM
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Bookmarked. Kindly additionally visit my website =). We could have a hyperlink alternate agreement among us!

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Right here is the right web site for everyone who hopes
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You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for many years.

Wonderful stuff, just great!
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Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains.
If you know of any please share. Cheers!

Feel free to surf to my blog :: Full Survey
http://u.42.pl/12qzS commented on 29-Jun-2019 08:08 AM
Yay google is my queen helped me to find this outstanding web site!
Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last several
posts have been kinda boring? I miss your great writings.

Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!
https://cpmpublishing.com/mega10boostpills913702 commented on 29-Jun-2019 08:17 AM
Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of
any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter
updates. I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite
some time and was hoping maybe you would have some
experience with something like this. Please let me know if
you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.
I like this web blog it's a master piece! Glad I observed
this on google.
Hello, all the time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the daylight,
since i enjoy to learn more and more.

Post a Comment




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