Thompson: The False Promise of "Big Data"
Education reformers have taken to invoking "big data" as education's next big frontier. However, linguist Geoff Nunberg, in the NPR's Fresh Air report,"Forget YOLO: Why 'Big Data' Should be the Word of the Year," explains that "Big Data is no more exact a notion than Big Hair."
The quantity of digital data has increased, and true believers in number-crunching still claim,"'With enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.'" But Nunberg says "The trouble is that you can't always believe what they're saying." That is no problem when algorithms predict "that I'd be interested in Celine Dion's greatest hits, as long as they get 19 out of 20 recommendations right." But even when we get to the point where we are measuring information in "humongobytes," we will still need people to ask the question of what are patterns for?-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.