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October 28 , 2010

On Being a Data Skeptic

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Overview

"Data is here, it's growing, and it's powerful." Author Cathy O'Neil argues that the right approach to data is skeptical, not cynical––it understands that, while powerful, data science tools often fail. Data is nuanced, and "a really excellent skeptic puts the term 'science' into 'data science.'" The big data revolution shouldn't be dismissed as hype, but current data science tools and models shouldn't be hailed as the end-all-be-all, either.

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Anita Superson challenges the traditional picture of the skeptic who asks, Why be moral? While holding that the skeptics position is important, she builds an argument against it by understanding it more deeply, and then shows what it would take to successfully defeat it. Superson argues that we must defeat not only the action skeptic, but the…




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