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GIGO

Do you think that there may be an inherent bias in "Big Data" practise toward data set collection and post processing at the cost of preprocessing and methodological rigour? Or is this an isolated case?

Kaiser

GIGO: This is certainly not an isolated case. Most big data type analyses are even simpler. Most analysts assume the data they have are the best they've got. Another example is the restaurant analysis using Opentable data. Is Opentable a global monopoly such that its data represent not just the entire global population of restaurants but also the population of restaurants at each local level of analysis? (rhetorical)

I may have written about this somewhere else but my fear is that big data analyses adopt the "complete information" assumption. This comes from two axioms: one, that we have data on the entire population (the "seemingly all" in the OCCAM defintion); two, because of Axiom #1, plus the oft-mistaken belief that unknown selection equals random selection, that we have unbiased data. From the "complete information" assumption comes the idea that all variation is random variation. But random variation is minmized by Axiom #1. Thus, you can take whatever you see in the big data and generalize it.

There are pockets of researchers who are treating these problems seriously but their influence is restricted to publishing papers. Dealing with these issues head-on almost surely requires post-processing and adjustments, which I think is not popular yet in this field.

Thanks for the comment. I think I will turn this into a post.

GIGO

Look forward to it. I admit even I was impressed at the the size of the response they got from this app. I have a feeling their symptoms response section not v well thought through. Not enough external input,?

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Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
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