People relationships in data analysis

May 4, 2018

Roger Peng discusses the importance of managing the relationships between people — analyst, patron, subject matter expert, and audience — for a successful analysis:

Human relationships are unstable, unpredictable, and inconsistent. Algorithms and statistical tools are predictable and in some cases, optimal. But for whatever reason, we have not yet been able to completely characterize all of the elements that make a successful data analysis in a “machine readable” format. We haven’t developed the “institutions” of data analysis that can operate without needing the involvement of specific individuals. Therefore, because we have not yet figured out a perfect model for human behavior, data analysis will have to be done by humans for just a bit longer.

Whenever someone touts a tool for “automatic insights”, whether it be in analysis or chart generation, something like this comes to mind.

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