Data. Good god, now, what is it good for?

Absolutely, nothing.  Say it again, data, what is it good for? Absolutely, nothing, listen to me.  I awoke in a singing phrase of mind so not surprised that I opened this entry with a  song mashup.  As someone whose career has revolved around data, using data, making decisions based off of data and championing the unbiased viewing of data, I am more and more convinced the value of data will diminish with each year the internet grows older.  I’m not blaming the internet, it’s just a tool that people use to achieve their ends, the internet doesn’t kill data, people kill data.  For example, the amount of data clearly indicating that man made processes are changing the Earth’s environment is staggering in its volume and clarity yet, as this is an inconvenient piece of data (Thanks for the phrase, Al!), the inconvenienced parties jump onto the internet and falsely discredit the data.  Data, Good god, now, what is it good for?

Mike Tyson is credited with saying “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.”  I like this because it describes most people who receive information that doesn’t support their views or makes them happy.  Mr. Tyson is basically stating it’s not the adversity itself but how you react to the adversity that is important (http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-11-09/sports/sfl-mike-tyson-explains-one-of-his-most-famous-quotes-20121109_1_mike-tyson-undisputed-truth-famous-quotes)  Data that inconveniences you is adversity whether it is about global change or your bank balance, how you deal with the adversity is where the value of data arises.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is more and more popular to ignore data or discredit data than it is to face the adversity that the data puts before us.  Not dealing with data reduces the value of the data and as this phenomenon of refusing to face up to the adversity of inconvenient facts grows, as it has a high probability of happening over the next four years, then the value of data will continue to diminish. Data, Good god, now, what is it good for?

 

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