Let's Explore the Human-Data Relationship


Has anyone else noticed what may be a warming trend? No, not global warming, but a warmer reception to data initiatives within the general public and the business community.

It just might be that our acceptance of data as part of our personal and business lives has grown stronger over the past 12 to 18 months. My observations about a stronger embrace of data and analytics are largely anecdotal, and could be blown away by a couple of informative All Analytics articles from the past two weeks. Tricia Aanderud raised some good questions about our love-hate relationship with data after the presidential election in The Election Aftermath: Is Data Dead?. Then Ariella Brown delivered an informative analysis of a KPMG survey on trust in In Data Analytics We Trust? .

Yet, we hear about how interest in data-driven shopping aided by digital assistants and tools such as the Amazon Dash button is growing, and plenty of people are high on the autonomous car concept.

When my faithful home PC went into digital hospice last week I ordered a replacement. My first task with my new laptop was to uncheck the dozens of default "sharing" options that would have let Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and other vendors collect data from every keystroke, every application, every website visited, and every location where I used the PC. While I wasn't in a sharing mood, I'm sure that a million or more people buying similar machines this year will gladly feed such data to the companies based on the promise of "a better user experience."

In business, have we passed the tipping point where the majority of managers increasingly trust, or even demand, data as part of the decision process? Plus, more CEOs are recognizing the value of data by having their chief data officers report directly into the corner office. No marketing or product initiative will move forward without some plan to collect performance metrics. The Internet of Things isn't going away.

The All Analytics team is looking at the human-data relationship on Tuesday. Bloggers Lisa Morgan and Pierre DeBois will join me on All Analytics Radio at 2 pm (Eastern) for Will Data and Humans Become Friends in 2017. (If you miss the live broadcast, you can listen on demand using the same link at any time).

We will be discussing whether data has expanded into our lives by stealth, as we rely upon and also share data without consciously recognizing the role that analytics and data play in our decisions, our actions, and our entertainment. Do people who actively avoided data a couple of years ago now at least tolerate it, even if they don't embrace it? What role do the millennials -- I know, I heard that we aren't supposed to call them that any more -- play in our changing attitudes toward data? Will there be a backlash against data because of the election and the never-end data breaches?

Join us on Tuesday, and share your thoughts.

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: Data and the truth
  • 1/6/2017 10:33:01 PM
NO RATINGS

..

Kq4ym writes


I wonder how voting might be changed, and some sense of more fairness might result if at some future date we were able to vote securely online continuously and have results instantaeously published.


 

I'd suggest that converting to a system based on democracy determined by majority vote might be a modest improvement ...

..

Re: Data and the truth
  • 12/26/2016 11:21:18 AM
NO RATINGS

I wonder how voting might be changed, and some sense of more fairness might result if at some future date we were able to vote securely online continuously and have results instantaeously published. The monitoring of just how the vote stands at any timeline would encouage "fence sitters" to cast a vote, and probably lead to no real surprised in voting results, and maybe less disputes about election results? 

Re: Data and the truth
  • 11/30/2016 6:33:29 PM
NO RATINGS

@Broadway: Do we have data on how many people stayed home to vote by state, and what their parties/political leanings were?  (I'm not convinced Hillary would have gotten an overwhelming majority of the non-voters.  Moreover, I suspect that most "conscientious non-voter" libertarian-types were leaning Trump.)

Certainly the Oregon protesters -- if local to the state -- wouldn't have made a difference because Hillary won Oregon.

Re: Data and the truth
  • 11/30/2016 6:30:50 PM
NO RATINGS

> the media in general.

@Maryam: My point exactly.

While Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were a bit of a surprise (really, all the Donald needed, more or less, were the expected red states + Florida (which was declared for him pretty early)), the top two polls, along with other prognosticators with excellent reputations for predicting Presidential elections, were giving it to him.

Re: Data and the truth
  • 11/30/2016 2:05:26 PM
NO RATINGS

Possibly but not assured, it depends on whether those individuals were making a statement or whether they thought their vote didn't matter.

Re: Data and the truth
  • 11/30/2016 12:09:02 AM
NO RATINGS

While we're on counterfactuals, you could argue that more accurate polls would have inspired many of the people who sat at home to come out to vote, driving the mere thousands of votes that HRC needed in certain swing states to win.

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  • 11/29/2016 10:50:28 PM
NO RATINGS

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Re: Data and the truth
  • 11/29/2016 9:45:18 PM
NO RATINGS

Very true but I don't think anyone predicted the disparity that we actually saw . I think the expectation was that it would be close not that he would win 302 electoral votes. That seemed to simply stun the media in general.

Re: Looking forward to it
  • 11/29/2016 1:23:53 PM
NO RATINGS

Worth noting that less-than-accurate polls led to a lot of the strife and discord right now.

Had the majority of polls -- as well as the mainstream media -- actually reported that Trump was doing well and taken his campaign seriously, I suspect that a lot of the violent discord that we've seen in reaction to Trump's win would have been rather tempered.

People don't like surprises.

Re: Looking forward to it
  • 11/28/2016 9:59:59 PM
NO RATINGS

Joe, have you been paying attention to this election season. It's the season of connivers, manipulators, vindictive and sneaky types, as well as people who protest an election they didn't vote in and sore winners who aren't comfortable enough with their win to stop lying. It is certainly time for people to waste their time just to waste a pollster's.

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