Martyn Richard Jones

Brussels, 10th July 2019

The other day, I heard the aimless, timeless and fatuous claim that data is like an onion, and as you peel away the data-layers of the data-onion the data-onion-detail will become clearer.

Is it me, or is this someone who has never ever chopped up an onion in their life?

It’s like claiming that the further you dig through a coal seam the more detailed the coal becomes; just because.

Isn’t that like equating the height of detail with ‘nothing’? Oh, look, no more onion to chop! Oh, look, no more coal to dig!

Bring on the data-rapture!

This sort of deliberately acquired mental feebleness leads us to strange places, faith-based decisions and unintended consequences.

For example. Beliefs that data are intrinsically valuable, that machine learning is universally applicable and that computer power is the third essential ingredient that will lead us to a brave new world, isn’t science, technology and reason but superstition, alchemy and ignorance.

Why? Because it’s all based on faith. An absolute gung-ho, self-delusional and introspective-free faith in our ability to solve any problem handed to us (real or imaginary), so long as we have the will, the passion and the supreme belief in that we can “just do it!”

“Hey, Charlie! Have you turned that lead into gold yet?”

So, keeping it short and sweet, in summary:

Not all data is valuable, some of it can be a downright liability. See here: How to turn internal user data into a massive liability

Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing? To wit… today, I came across a post on social-media, to which some errant bozo (me) responded with:

“Do computers understand? Do they have awareness, internally and externally? Do they comprehend context? Are they nuanced in their interpretations of instructions and symbols? Do they borrow from cultures and disciplines, the arts, philosophy, politics, economics, etc. and then apply that to different scenarios?”

  • Which leads nicely to… machine learning that can’t explain itself is frequently undesirable. See, I can be polite it’s just that sometimes I choose not to be. See here: Deep learning and shallow understanding
  • Compute power alone won’t lead to smarter or better decision support. See… everywhere.
  • Now for… a reality check! Sometimes you just have to turn to the real professionals, you know, the folk who have knowledge and experience?
  • Consequently, big data analytics didn’t kill the statistician. See here:  Did big data kill the statistician?
  • Oh, and forget about all that Hadoop and Big Data nonsense. See here: Hadoop is sinking because big data is bullshit

And, if you are of a mind, then join ‘the big data contrarians’ on LinkedIn. See here: the big data contrarians

Many thanks for reading and until the next time,

Martyn Jones – The Good Strategy Company