Big questions for those looking for answers in big data

The future is disobedient: the more we know, the less we can predict


Published/updated: November 2016

By Richard Edwards

"Some complex systems, such as the weather, are oblivious to our predictions. The process of human development, in contrast, reacts to them. Indeed, the better our forecasts, the more reactions they engender." These observations of Professor Yuval Noah Harari, one of the outgoing American president’s favored authors (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind), are particularly apposite right now as pollsters, experts, and analysts in various parts of the world examine their election forecasts and models. At a time when organizations and nation states have more data and more compute power than ever before, the notion of "the more we know, the less we can predict" should provoke "big questions" for those working with "big data." ...




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