The Data We Know
Algorithms are everywhere: driving our cars, designing our social media feeds, influencing which shoes we buy on the Iconic, diagnosing diseases, influencing election results, buying this book:
In Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms, mathematician Hannah Fry shows us the potential and the limitations of algorithms.
It is interesting that when we design data collection and client surveys for our clients we try very hard to set the scene for discovery. The idea that, from the fresh information we gather there, we will uncover some revelations about the future of a brand or a business. Developing a consumer persona that becomes a social media slave to your next product launch.
All this works towards a conversation about measurement and the ultimate goal of making strategic decisions based on feedback. Next thing you know we’re mining facebook and tracking your every movement.
In “Hello World” Fry demonstrates to the reader that “there are boundaries to the reach of algorithms. Limits to what can be quantified.” Perhaps a better understanding of those limits is needed to inform our discussions of where we want to use algorithms.
When it comes to decision-making, we don’t necessarily have to choose between doing it ourselves and relying wholly on algorithms. The best outcome may be a thoughtful combination of the two.