There has been something of a data backlash happening lately, and I think I’ve figured out why: Data for the sake of data has a tendency to sanitize experiences we’d rather leave a little bit dirty. But there’s a big, meaningful difference that’s worth knowing between big data and just plain data.
David Brooks’s recent column in the New York Times is a good example of this. He coined the term “data-ism” (which is quite apt) to describe a newfound penchant for reducing everything in our worlds into a number or statistic. Skeptical of this data worship, he is — rightfully — inclined to rebel.