Looking forward by looking back

Janus

As the Small Data Forum progresses through its early teenage years – our latest podcast is episode 14 already – regular co-hosts Thomas Stoeckle, Neville Hobson, and Sam Knowles are taking the opportunity to look forward by looking back.

Patients of our own medicine, you might say, we’re using the year end and what we’ve observed and learned in 2017 to enter the predictive analytics business.

We take our inspiration from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and time, after whom January is named. A sculpture of Janus appears at the top of this blog, from the Vatican Museum.

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11: Winning with data, the fallacy of rational decision-making, and the future of fake facts

For the 11th time, the SmallDataForum convened – this time to explore questions related to the opportunities and challenges of data in business, the rational and emotional side of decision-making, and the continuing erosion of trust and confidence in the truthfulness of information.

Stephen Fry’s fabulous narration of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes formed the backdrop to musings about data sleuthing and the skill sets required for successful forensic analytics.


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09: Back to the future or fast forward to a new normal?

News is neither a fixed nor a finite entity. There are some periods in history when it feels like there’s just more happening than at others.

I’m not talking about the Dark Ages (which suffered a blackout from not just newscasters but also historiographers). I’m talking about periods in one’s life in the early 21st century when it feels as if there’s more going on globally and geopolitically than at others.

Now of course, the growth of social media, driven by the democratisation of mobile technology and the explosion in smartphones in particular, has had a profound impact on the way that news is gathered, shared, and amplified.

Today, anyone with a smartphone and a decent 4G or WiFi connection, can become a citizen journalist, blogger, or vlogger. But the mere presence and widespread availability of technology and means of data transmission cannot – in and of themselves – create more news.


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07: How does Big Data convert into Business Value?

A topic that’s dominated our conversation in recent episodes of The Small Data Forum podcast is fake news and related issues.

In episode 7, hosted by Thomas Stoeckle in conversation with regulars Neville Hobson and Sam Knowles, we consider world wide web inventor Tim Berner-Lee’s call to action on what he sees as three big challenges for the web:

1. Loss of control of personal data;
2. Spread of misinformation; and
3. Questionable political advertising.


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