Keynote Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Big data is a big deal

The growth of data is explosive. Data is currently doubling within 18-20 months. Do we know the right questions to ask when it comes to data?

Causality or correlation?
Keynote speaker Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at University of Oxford, explains that we need to let data speak instead of pre-defining our questions. Cause and effect is how we interpret the world. Bad predictions are often the result of outdated models or wrong assumptions. When you flip a coin, you presume you have a 50% chance that it will turn up heads. Your assumption is based on the coin being perfect, which it probably is not, and that the coin has been perfectly thrown, and chances this was also not the case. 

Reuse data for more value
So, instead of starting with a question, why not begin with data and use it to drive your hypothesis? What happens when you base everything on correlation? Dr Carolyn McGregor analysed massive data collected from monitoring devices connected to premature babies. An unexpected outcome – when the baby’s vital signs stabilize, this is actually an indication that the baby might become infected within 24 hours.

Datafy business model  
Turn it around. Use your data to design clothing according to individual preferences. How do you make car sharing more attractive when data shows car owners think they drive better than other drivers? Have cars do the driving themselves! 

Big data mindset 
The takeaway: collect data opportunistically, repeatedly and be willing to try new things and fail at doing so. Dare to go on a fishing expedition. Rethink data and let data inspire you. 

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