I wouldn’t go on a bus trip with a driver who is unlicensed. Would you?
Who is driving the Big Data bus? Data scientists? Mindless algorithms? Content experts and their teams of data scientist support staff? Marketing? Security firms (including those run by governments)? Terrorists?
I say this once, I will say this a million times … Content is Queen.
Algorithms that are primarily empirical without an understanding of the validity of the data being analyzed and the theoretical issues are dangerous.
An algorithm can predict — and I have no doubt several are doing so at this minute — how happy I will be on a global question (how happy are you?) or a behavioral index (at a sporting event, at the bank cashing a check, four days after the death of a parent) or the perceptions of others (just got tagged in somebody’s photo, got mentioned in a tweet, had a happy blog entry, had birthday, just had a child born, got back a favorable medical test result, used a smiley face).
I have observed and analyzed and proposed new ways of measuring “happiness” and “anxiety” and “grieving” and “intelligence” for 40 years. I don’t really know what “happiness” or “anxiety” or “grieving” or “intelligence” is although I do know a lot about how experts have tried to define these constructs. I do know that a blind algorithm is not going to answer the question of what “happiness” is.
Do you want an algorithm driving the bus or someone who knows the limits of current data? I don’t want a blind algorithm predicting whether I am “happy” (and happy enough to buy something). I don’t want a blind algorithm predicting the economy. I don’t want a blind algorithm predicting how many healthcare visits I should receive under health insurance.
Content is Queen. The algorithms that drive the organization of Big Data need to be guided by content specialists (psychologists, sociologists, physicians, nurses, economists, physicists, chemists, bioelectrical engineers, etc.) not data scientists without expertise in one or more of the relevant content fields.
If the Queen rules, all will probably be well in the kingdom. If blind algorithms rule we probably will end up as batteries in The Matrix.
I vote (before it is too late) for the monarchy of content. I am not a battery.