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Data Skeptic post

October 10, 2013

I wrote a blog post for O’Reilly’s website to accompany my essay, On Being a Data Skeptic. Here’s an excerpt:

I left finance pretty disgusted with the whole thing, and because I needed to make money and because I’m a nerd, I pretty quickly realized I could rebrand myself a “data scientist” and get a pretty cool job, and that’s what I did. Once I started working in the field, though, I was kind of shocked by how positive everyone was about the “big data revolution” and the “power of data science.”

Not to underestimate the power of data––it’s clearly powerful! And big data has the potential to really revolutionize the way we live our lives for the better––or sometimes not. It really depends.

From my perspective, this was, in tenor if not in the details, the same stuff we’d been doing in finance for a couple of decades and that fields like advertising were slow to pick up on. And, also from my perspective, people needed to be way more careful and skeptical of their powers than they currently seem to be. Because whereas in finance we need to worry about models manipulating the market, in data science we need to worry about models manipulating people, which is in fact scarier. Modelers, if anything, have a bigger responsibility now than ever before.

Categories: data science, finance, modeling
  1. October 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the update, did a post and it did well so hopefully got more circulation and made sure the O’reilly links were all there. You are so “on target” and maybe some day Gov might model or hire some quants that can acquaint them with the facts of life as it goes out there.


  2. October 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Loved your essay. Thanks. Just reviewed it on Analyst One. Will you be at Hadoop World this week? Would like to meet you in person if you have time. Cheers, Bob Gourley


  1. November 21, 2013 at 8:23 am
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