Indiana Jones of the 22nd Century: Data, Not Dirt…

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3.   Tomb of Jesus

Discovered in 1555 and had been sealed since that time.

 In 2016, archaeologists were allowed to view the tomb for just a few days. During their limited time, scientists had the opportunity to take a more extensive look at the site of Jesus’ burial and examine its contents.

Often in the data world, we reopen or redesign models to produce a deeper dive or give us a different angle on what we already know. For example, data scientists who design propensity-to-buy models are constantly looking at new information to add to the models to make them more accurate.

Has the customer purchased?

What did they buy last time? When did they buy?

How much did they buy?

Who are the customers – age, ethnicity, segment of population? Using this new information allows the data scientists to develop even better models for prediction and optimization.

4. Unknown branch of humanity

Discovered as result of the genome project. A gene from a group of people from Australia and New Zealand has revealed a race previously unknown by scientists.

The race lived roughly 50-60K years ago, and it has caused us to re-evaluate what we believed was the first human on earth.

Often in data projects, we discover new sources of data that have previously not existed. The internet gave us data that we had never thought could be evaluated.  

And web data gave us new techniques for evaluating that data.

As the internet of things takes off, we are seeing new data streams that must be analyzed. AI and machine learning are new tools in that analysis allowing us to see patterns and garner understandings that had previously been unknown, causing us to re-evaluate our actions and our analyses.

5. New Dead Sea Scrolls 

Have been discovered, but scientists believe that they are forgeries.  

Unlike similar discoveries of scrolls from the area of the Dead Sea, these scrolls have created some doubt among archaeologists. This skepticism arose as some of the information in the scrolls does not jive with expectations of writings from this era.

For some in the data world, we encounter data sets every day that give us pause.  How was the data created? Was it manipulated in order to present one side of the story?

This clearly fits the area of fake news. We draw inferences from facts that may or not be absolutely correct.  Sometimes we are wrong. Our built-in human biases make us blind to the facts in front of us.

Just as an archaeologist explores how ancient civilizations interacted with each other by digging through the ruins, data scientists dig through the detritus of data left by each of us. New discoveries enrich our understanding.

Looking beyond the normal scope of inquiry leads to unexpected discoveries. Re-evaluation of previously explored information can sharpen our view of a situation or create a new angle for solving a problem.

Innovative technology opens our eyes to new sources of material. Human intuition provides a healthy dose of hesitation or even prejudice when presented with potentially dubious information.

Digging into data allows us to find and extend our knowledge of our customers and of how they interact with us, our competitors, each other.

Now, get your hands dirty.

Related articles:

Where Are You on the Data Analytics Maturity Model?

5 Top Trends in Data Management – For the Next Decade

Data Analytics Driven Marketing for Small Business

Theresa Kushner
Theresa Kushner
Theresa Kushner is a self-styled data-vangelist who brings her passion for all things data into her consultancy. Having held positions in F100 companies for most of her career, she now dedicates her time to helping start-ups and small/medium businesses scale using their customer information. She applies the skills she acquired as an executive at Dell EMC, VMware, Cisco Systems and IBM to help leaders apply data governance and 21st century data management techniques to their business intelligence and advanced analytics programs. She helps companies determine whether they are ready to take advantage of advanced techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process engineering. She also helps guide companies in using more effectively for customer experience the data they collect on a daily basis. Ms. Kushner co-authored “Managing Your Business Data from Chaos to Confidence” with Maria Villar in 2009 and 2015 collaborated with Ruth P Stevens on “B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results.” Ms. Kushner is a graduate of the University of North Texas where she received a Master of Arts in Journalism. She serves on the Advisory Boards of UNT Mayborn School of Journalism as well as data.world.

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