The third Meet a Data Scientist talk took place on December 9, 2020 (original event entry). Opening with a parallel to the writings of Enlightenment-era thinker John Locke on the changes in property and governance and shift to capitalism at that time as it relates to data science in making today’s world a better place, self-described “bit pusher” Tim Norris shared his fascinating journey into a career as an “embedded data curator.”
Tim is passionate about making data more useful, sharing it, and not storing it away; It’s important that we curate the data and tell stories with it. In this commonly used DIKW pyramid representation, the base layer “the World” was missing—he added it—as it helps to illustrate his objection to the term “information ecosystem” because that takes away “the world”. He was taught Statistics by a Buddhist monk who emphasized that your interpretation of the data is what counts the most.
In this vein, he offered this quote:
Tim’s fascinating career in mapmaking data evolved as did the technology used. He learned that the data doesn’t tell the story. Humans tell the story. “It takes a certain amount of understanding of data to manipulate it and communicate the results.” The current global governance tendency toward open data is great but there are still many obstacles to data sharing.
The Q and A touched on the “So what?!” of working with data and who benefits from data extracted from us as we go about our lives. Data is a public good, but who should pay for the costs of gathering and processing it? A data tax maybe?
- Tim recommended everyone watch The Social Dilemma (currently on Netflix).
- He also noted that Wall Street’s Standard & Poor’s is now the “world’s largest, global resource for index-based concepts, data, and research.”