Matt Locke makes the argument for the need for a better metaphor for data, although he says he doesn’t have an answer just yet:
The discussions around data policy still feel like they are framing data as oil – as a vast, passive resource that either needs to be exploited or protected. But this data isn’t dead fish from millions of years ago – it’s the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of over a third of the world’s population, the largest record of human thought and activity ever collected. It’s not oil, it’s history. It’s people. It’s us.
Jon Schwabish has a video series on data visualisation types, in conversation with an expert, about how they’re used in a variety of settings & use cases. There are 10 videos on there already, all <10 minutes each. Very interesting for data communicators.
Ctrl-Shift has a very good article that explains why data is the currency that is poised to overshadow money, not for the sellers but for consumers.
A huge amount of data today – the data collected by companies’ web sites, Google search terms, Facebook postings etc – are provided by individuals for free. If something is ‘free’ does that mean it has no economic value?
Haiwatha Gray in the Boston Globe about the profiling of cellphone users
As we live our lives, we leave behind a vapor trail of information: the places we go and how fast we get there, the people we talk to, the stores where we shop, taverns where we drink, churches where we pray. Powerful computers in our purses and pockets are now recording that data. The cellphone is not just a communication device; it is a diary. And with the data from millions of these diaries, businesses, government agencies, and scientists are learning how to forestall medical crises, identify emotional problems, prevent the spread of infections diseases, or simply sell more pizza.
Stephen Wolfram makes mathematics sexy. In a recent article on his blog, Stephen explains how he used the anonymised data that people contributed to Wolfram Alpa, to understand their facebook connections & some interesting observations from these analysis.
I’ve always been interested in people and the trajectories of their lives. But I’ve never been able to combine that with my interest in science. Until now. And it’s been quite a thrill over the past few weeks to see the results we’ve been able to get. Sometimes confirming impressions I’ve had; sometimes showing things I never would have guessed.
Evolv is a HR analytics consulting company that is helping Xerox determine what attributes & propensities are associated with success in a given position.
Employees who live within 10 minutes of the office may be 20 percent likelier to stay at the company at least six months than ones who live 45 minutes away or further. Employees who have a college degree may be less inclined to stick with a call-center job than those who do not. According to The Wall Street Journal, Evolv, the company assisting Xerox in its recruitment efforts, determined that the ideal candidate to staff the company’s call centers “uses one or more social networks, but not more than four.”