I’m a data scientist who is skeptical about data

After millennia of relying on anecdotes, instincts, and old wives’ tales as evidence of our opinions, most of us today demand that people use data to support their arguments and ideas. Whether it’s curing cancer, solving workplace inequality, or winning elections, data is now perceived as being the Rosetta stone for cracking the code of pretty much all of human existence.

But in the frenzy, we’ve conflated data with truth. And this has dangerous implications for our ability to understand, explain, and improve the things we care about. I have skin in this game. I am a professor of data science at NYU and a social-science consultant for companies, where I conduct quantitative research to help them understand and improve diversity.

Author: Andrea Jones-Rooy

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