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David Brooks on Big Data

A haystack in an open field underneath a blue sky with some clouds

This post is a response to the article “What Data Can’t Do?” by David Brooks, posted on NYTimes.com on February 18, 2013.

Straw stack

Sometimes I feel like David Brooks channels my thoughts. I’ve been trying to boost my enthusiasm for Big Data. I know it’s making lots of new consumer and business connections possible, and it certainly is where the action is today. But with all the new capabilities it’s worth remembering where it falls short: its emphasis on “what” risks obscuring “why.” In the above editorial Brooks highlights several challenges using big data. His set-up example of a major corporate decision provides a reminder that values often are more important than volume when it comes to understanding both business and consumer decisions.



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