Big Data's "theory-free" analysis is a statistical malpractice
Boing Boing -

One of the premises of Big Data is that it can be "theory free": rather than starting with a hypothesis ("men at buffets eat more when women are present," "more people will click this button if I move it here," etc) and then gathering data to validate your guess, you just gather a ton of data and look for patterns in it.

The thing is, patterns emerge in every large dataset, without necessarily being representative of a wider statistical truth. Think of the celebrated rise and fall of Google...


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