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Data doesn’t speak for itself

Posted November. 14, 2022 07:54,   

Updated November. 14, 2022 07:54


Data science is a study that finds new values from data. As data scientist Nate Silver said, we give meaning to numbers, and humans give value to data. In this sense, data science is an art. Just as music gives meaning to sound, data science gives meaning to data. The portrait of our society, represented by millennials, generation Z, and the demographic cliff, is a work of data science. It is also a comprehensive art because good work requires a deep understanding of a problem and professional theories on data analysis. For instance, former New York City Mayer Rudolf Giuliani introduced a data analysis system related to crimes and applied it to crime prevention policies when he took office, bringing down the city’s crime rate by 7.6% by the end of his term.

Data science is both an art and a science. Artworks are assessed by art experts or the public. But data science works are assessed based on their accuracy as one day, the public can tell if data-based predictions are right or wrong. The predictions are often wrong, just like the Malthusian population theory in the 18th century predicted humanity's fall because of the population's exponential growth.

The Itaewon tragedy made me contemplate as a data scientist. The data on CCTV or subway passengers would have known that the place was packed with too many people. But we could not prevent the incident because we did not give any meaning to the data. We should have paid more attention to the data or distorted the result. Or maybe we were just too lazy. I am not sure how to pay off my debt to the young souls.