Analytics Strategist

September 18, 2007

Data Driven Intelligence

Filed under: business strategy, Datarology — Tags: , , , — Huayin Wang @ 6:01 pm

Abundance of intelligent people and intelligence is one major characteristic of our time!

Data Driven Intelligence, at least under its current moniker, is a modern invention. In the broadest sense, it refers to intelligence derived solely from data. It takes data, including meta-data, as the only input while outputting intelligent information.

The professionals in this trade are ones with the knowledge and skills for the extraction of intelligent information from data. This profession is still young and diversified. It has been called many names, including statistics, data analytics, machine learning, data mining, artificial intelligence, knowledge discovery, pattern recognition etc. I call it Datarology. Feel free to use your own favorite substitute.

But what about the similarly-named Numerology? Isn’t it also taking in data and generating “insightful” information?

It is true that both derive interesting and intelligent information from numbers, or claim to do so. It is amazing to see how much numerologists can derive out of as small a piece of data as a birthdate! Another profession marked by such an ability to derive much from little data or few words, is theology.

What distinguishes datarology from these two is how very careful it is about what information can be reliably drawn from the available data. I can’t imagine a datarologist being excited about working with a single data point—a birthday! This is not an indictment of numerology, or even a challenge of the validity of its intelligence. This is mainly to illustrate the difference between the two. In all fairness, numerologists do not really work with one data point, they work with huge amount of data going through intricate processes. The key difference lies in the fact that these data and processes are implicit and hidden in the dark (brain cells).

In contrast, Datarology is characterized in large part by its explicitness. It requires that every data and meta-data (including assumptions about the data characteristics) be made explicit; it also promises to make deductive process explicit. The intelligence-generating process can be so transparent that it could be understood and carried out by machine!

This is one force that is radically transforming business today and every day. It advantages businesses that have a lot of data, it improves efficiency of business operation, it pushes the digitalization of every aspect of business.

Most of all, it creates an evolutionary threat to the traditional forms of intelligence and intelligent people. The intelligence based on remembering facts, folklores, and rules that are readily derivable from data, the type that simply comes with age and experience is becoming endangered. If this is unfamiliar, read the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis.

It pays to learn these new knowledge and skills – the capability of extracting intelligence from data, all kinds of data.

The abundance of intelligence is greater now, with the addition of intelligent machines.


1 Comment »

  1. I just heard the book “Super Crunchers” today and read the first few chapters of it. An interesting book on the same/related topic of this post. It is also fun to read about the somewhat polemical book reviews on amazon 🙂

    Comment by huayin — October 9, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

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