Synapsis Snippets: Be Curious My Friends
"Accustom yourself to attend to what is said by another; try to inhabit the speaker’s mind."
~ Marcus Aurelius
Last year, Google processed approximately 3 trillion searches. If you do the math, Google processes more searches in a single day than there are people on the planet. And that is just Google search data.
In 2014, I wrote a blog post titled, Big Data and Intuition, A Symbiotic Relationship. I wrote that piece to push back against those that suggested the big data “movement” was chipping away at our personhood. I disagreed, writing,
[B]ig data initiatives have the potential to expand and enhance our intuition, freeing it from a small and dark box supported by poorly constructed boundaries defined by an historically slow, controlled drip of information. New light can now illuminate previously inaccessible, dark corners and thus enhance our understanding of the human condition.
In his bestseller, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz discusses the power of big data, particularly in the hands of curious and creative polymaths seeking to understand human nature. Ironically, with all the surveys and empirical, quantifiably measurable experiments published in myriad research papers, much of what we think we understand turns out to be, at best, only part of the story. The explosion of data in all its forms offers new ways to look at the fuzzy, complicated, and often opaque nature of the human experience.
I don’t mean to break my arm patting myself on my back. I do, however, find it ironic that big data in the hands of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz helped validate what my intuition was telling me in 2014.
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