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jerryking : overquantification   4

THE YEAR IN IDEAS: A TO Z.; Precautionary Principle
Dec. 9, 2001 | The New York Times | By Michael Pollan.

New technologies can bring mankind great benefits, but they can also cause accidental harm [JCK: "unintended consequences"]. How careful should society be about introducing innovations that have the potential to affect human health and the environment? For the last several decades, American society has been guided by the ''risk analysis'' model, which assesses new technologies by trying to calculate the mathematical likelihood that they will harm the public. There are other ways, however, to think about this problem. Indeed, a rival idea from Europe, the ''precautionary principle 2/3'' has just begun making inroads in America....risk analysis hasn't done a very good job predicting the ecological and health effects of many new technologies. It is very good at measuring what we can know -- say, the weight a suspension bridge can bear -- but it has trouble calculating subtler, less quantifiable risks.......Whatever can't be quantified falls out of the risk analyst's equations, and so in the absence of proven, measurable harms, technologies are simply allowed to go forward......When Germany discovered in the 70's that its beloved forests were suddenly dying, there was not yet scientific proof that acid rain was the culprit. But the government acted to slash power-plant emissions anyway, citing the principle of Vorsorge, or ''forecaring.'' Soon, Vorsorgeprinzip -- the forecaring, or precautionary, principle -- became an axiom in German environmental law. Even in the face of scientific uncertainty, the principle states, actions should be taken to prevent harms to the environment and public health.

Even in the face of scientific uncertainty, the principle states, actions should be taken to prevent harms to the environment and public health......world-trade rules are based on risk-analysis rather than precaution, so if the health risk of, say, eating hormone-treated beef has not been proved, the World Trade Organization ruled that a ban is illegal....the precautionary principle poses a radical challenge to business as usual in a modern, capitalist, technological civilization. ....however, because technological innovations are out and on the market long before the scientific proof of their harms have been gathered, often the public bears the burden/cost of the proving the harm, rather than the innovating company.....If introduced into American law, the precautionary principle would fundamentally shift the burden of proof. The presumptions that flow from the scientific uncertainty surrounding so many new technologies would no longer automatically operate in industry's favor. Scientific uncertainty would no longer argue for freedom of action but for precaution and alternatives.....Critics argue that the precautionary principle is ''antiscientific.'' No and yes. No, in the sense that it calls for more science in order to dispel the uncertainties surrounding new technologies and to develop less harmful alternatives. And yet there is a sense in which the idea is ''antiscientific,'' if by scientific we mean leaving it to scientists to tell us what to do. For the precautionary principle recognizes the limitations of science -- and the fact that scientific uncertainty is an unavoidable breach into which ordinary citizens sometimes must step and act.
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From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑

Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010


Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
'70s  beforemath  burden_of_proof  environment  evidence_based  Germany  health_risks  Michael_Pollan  overquantification  precaution  principles  public_health  risk-analysis  scientific_uncertainty  technology  unintended_consequences  WTO 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
How Not to Drown in Numbers - NYTimes.com
MAY 2, 2015| NYT |By ALEX PEYSAKHOVICH and SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ.

If you’re trying to build a self-driving car or detect whether a picture has a cat in it, big data is amazing. But here’s a secret: If you’re trying to make important decisions about your health, wealth or happiness, big data is not enough.

The problem is this: The things we can measure are never exactly what we care about. Just trying to get a single, easy-to-measure number higher and higher (or lower and lower) doesn’t actually help us make the right choice. For this reason, the key question isn’t “What did I measure?” but “What did I miss?”...So what can big data do to help us make big decisions? One of us, Alex, is a data scientist at Facebook. The other, Seth, is a former data scientist at Google. There is a special sauce necessary to making big data work: surveys and the judgment of humans — two seemingly old-fashioned approaches that we will call small data....For one thing, many teams ended up going overboard on data. It was easy to measure offense and pitching, so some organizations ended up underestimating the importance of defense, which is harder to measure. In fact, in his book “The Signal and the Noise,” Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com estimates that the Oakland A’s were giving up 8 to 10 wins per year in the mid-1990s because of their lousy defense.

And data-driven teams found out the hard way that scouts were actually important...We are optimists about the potential of data to improve human lives. But the world is incredibly complicated. No one data set, no matter how big, is going to tell us exactly what we need. The new mountains of blunt data sets make human creativity, judgment, intuition and expertise more valuable, not less.

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From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
human_ingenuity  data  analytics  small_data  massive_data_sets  data_driven  information_overload  dark_data  measurements  creativity  judgment  intuition  Nate_Silver  expertise  datasets  information_gaps  unknowns  underestimation  infoliteracy  overlooked_opportunities  sense-making  easy-to-measure  Albert_Einstein  special_sauce  metrics  overlooked  defensive_tactics  emotional_intelligence  EQ  soft_skills  overquantification  false_confidence 
may 2015 by jerryking
Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.

we put together a few guidelines for when one research method might be more useful than the other.

Quantitative:
* For trending purposes, i.e. trends in customer feedback
* Need for quick feedback
* Particularly useful when a company wants to determine how to increase market share
* Product feedback for consumer products

Qualitative:
* Help identify non-obvious ways to delight current customers
* Looking for information to grow an existing market or create a new one
* Market research follow-up questions when numeric scales can be misleading
* Messaging validation for products that are new to the market
* Market validation
* Understanding objections and barriers
* Product feedback for enterprise products

In the article, “Market Research: Quantitative or Qualitative,” the writer Diane Hagglund said, “sometimes numbers provide false confidence and obscure real opportunity.” [Definition of overquantification]

She later added in a follow-up article that her market research firm recommends web surveys as good vehicles for quantifying concepts that the researcher is familiar with and wants accurate percentages for each option.

“This is a valuable thing to do, especially for market sizing, external marketing and PR purpose,” Hagglund said. “But for finding out the answers that you don’t really know, start with qualitative research – and by all means do a web survey next to put those percentages in place once you know the statements to put the percentages with.”

In other words, it’s important to quantify your qualitative research and qualify your quantitative research
market_research  market_sizing  overquantification  storytelling  qualitative  quantitative  Scott_Anthony  dangers  research_methods  non-obvious  enterprise_clients  false_confidence  Albert_Einstein  easy-to-measure  delighting_customers  follow-up_questions 
december 2011 by jerryking
In a Data-Heavy Society, Being Defined by the Numbers - NYTimes.com
By ALINA TUGEND
Published: April 22, 2011
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control.”[stories, anecdotes, and ratios make numbers memorable. See also Pinboard article, "To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story"]

Too many people shopping for cars, for example, get fixated on how much
horsepower the engine has, even though in most cases it really doesn’t
matter, Mr. Lehrer said.

“We want to quantify everything,” he went on, “to ground a decision in
fact, instead of asking whether that variable matters.” [jck: that is, which variables are incisive, worth paying attention to, act as signal in a sea of noise?]
obsessions  rankings  data_driven  metrics  statistics  analysis  incisiveness  quantitative  Jonah_Lehrer  dangers  intangibles  meaning  sense-making  data  illusions  false_confidence  anecdotal  books  sense_of_control  storytelling  decision_making  overquantification 
april 2011 by jerryking

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