Home > data science, modeling > The NYC Data Skeptics Meetup

The NYC Data Skeptics Meetup

One thing I’m super excited about at work is the new NYC Data Skeptics Meetup we’re organizing. Here’s the description of our mission:

The hype surrounding Big Data and Data Science is at a fever pitch with promises to solve the world’s business and social problems, large and small. How accurate or misleading is this message? How is it helping or damaging people, and which people? What opportunities exist for data nerds and entrepreneurs that examine the larger issues with a skeptical view?

This Meetup focuses on mathematical, ethical, and business aspects of data from a skeptical perspective. Guest speakers will discuss the misuse of and best practices with data, common mistakes people make with data and ways to avoid them, how to deal with intentional gaming and politics surrounding mathematical modeling, and taking into account the feedback loops and wider consequences of modeling. We will take deep dives into models in the fields of Data Science, statistics, finance, economics, healthcare, and public policy.

This is an independent forum and open to anyone sharing an interest in the larger use of data. Technical aspects will be discussed, but attendees do not need to have a technical background.

A few things:

  • Please join us!
  • I wouldn’t blame you for not joining until we have a confirmed speaker, so please suggest speakers for us! I have a bunch of people in mind I’d absolutely love to see but I’d love more ideas. And I’m thinking broadly here – of course data scientists and statisticians and economists, but also lawyers, sociologists, or anyone who works with data or the effects of data.
  • If you are skeptical of the need for yet another data-oriented Meetup (or other regular meeting), please think about it this way: there are not that many currently active groups which aren’t afraid to go into the technical weeds and also not obsesses with a simplistic, sound bite business take-away. But please tell me if I’m wrong, I’d love to reach out to people doing similar things.
  • Suggest a better graphic for our Meetup than our current portrait of Isaac Asimov.
Categories: data science, modeling
  1. chw2
    May 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Matt jones. history dept.


  2. May 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

    We seem to be going through a regressive period in intellectual and scientific history. All the dullest and most pin-headed bean-counters have taken control of all the biggest machines, electronic or political, it’s all the same. All the rules I learned in school about making data meaningful and keeping scientific inference honest have been tossed out the window by the new breed of agenda-driven double-think tanks.

    And thirty years after I attended my first colloquia on “Groupware” and “Collab’ratories”, we still still don’t have truly effective ways for people distributed across the globe to work together toward solving the real problems of civilization.


  3. pjm
    May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve been meaning to ask about your work in Data science. So much of the commerical application of big data really seems to be geared to enhance the power of marketing. I.e., to make marketing a more insidious form social control , if you like, or a more effective way of taking your money. I know there must be more socially useful applications of the techniques but where is there is that happening in industry (outside genomics)?


    • Leon Kautsky
      May 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

      *Weather prediction
      *Artificial intelligence of every day life (getting microphones to correctly record people’s voices)
      *Medicine (every fMRI by year 2000 standards is a big data application).
      *Environmental stuff (really a subset of economics).
      *Anti-terror activities


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