We’re Better Together with Big Data

We’re Better Together with Big Data

What the heck is Big Data? And what does it have to do with faith & business? In this episode, Dave and Justin define Big Data, give pragmatic examples of its use in various capacities, and draw a parallel back to Paul in the New Testament. Here are the notes from the show:

  • Ever noticed how companies are able to target messages to you based on your internet surfing behavior? How do they do that?
  • The unique thing about Big Data isn’t the data itself, it’s the new sources of data – the “sensors” that are able to “see” things that no human alone could.
  • Big Data defined as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions”.
  • There are different types of data: structured (transactional data, financial data) and unstructured (social posts, emails, consumer reviews on Amazon)
  • “Data Science” is actually the more interesting topic – it looks at what variables and metrics predict future outcomes
  • Big Data came about due to several factors including the advent of a worldwide digital nervous system and sensors. Parallel here to the metaphor of the body.
  • Big Data is useful if it doesn’t turn into “Big Wisdom”. There is a hierarchy toward wisdom that goes like this: Data > Information > Knowledge > Wisdom.
  • Market research is as old as….the Old Testament. Reference Paul’s famous quote in 1 Corinthians 9…”become like the Romans to win the Romans…”
  • Three types of analytics: Descriptive (“what happened?”), Predictive (“what will happen?”) and Prescriptive (“what should I do?”). Parallel with how Paul interacted with the Athenians in Acts 17.
  • The human brain can go way beyond “Big Data”. It turns insight from multiple domains (sight, sound, smell, touch, etc.) and applies filters that Big Data can’t…such as moral, emotional, spiritual. We’re moving into an era where human judgment and uniqueness will be highly valued.
  • David Hume – 18th century philosopher who said we can’t get an “ought” from an “is”. Big Data can tell us facts, but it’s up to us to place value judgments on the meaning of that data and what to do with it.
  • Some questions to ask:
    • What role does data play in your organization?
    • What other sensory data are available in your business that may lead to further insights and positive outcomes?
    • When it comes to data, do you assume that the answer will reveal itself or do you actually leverage human talent to seek insights and knowledge?

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