We are excited to share this interview with Robin Bloor, about Data Science, Machine Learning, and data analysis!
In the past, you have questioned the use of the “Data Science” term. Can you explain a bit more?
The profession used to be called Statistician, a perfectly good word to describe the activity – an activity that has been part of computer science since it began. Data Science is a poorly chosen term. Data is not a field of science since all sciences involve data. Also, as this is a Johnny-come-lately word, what qualifications are required? Statistics and computer science of course.
How important is for a data scientist to also be a business expert? Is data scientist the future business analyst?
Necessary for a statistician to have a strong business knowledge of the area he is examining. The Data Scientists, if truly skilled is far beyond a business analyst. How many business analysts have a deep knowledge of statistics? That takes years of statistical experience.
If you don’t know how to handle your data, it’s easy to fall into wrong assumptions. What’s the challenge in picking the right data to make decisions, in the Big Data era? Do we need to store and process them all?
Data has meaning. If you do not know the meaning of the data you can do nothing with it. Data doesn’t make assumptions, people who don’t understand data make assumptions. The challenge in picking the right data for anything is knowing the meaning of the data and knowing how your statistical tools work. If you do not know that, you cannot pick the right data or the right tools. If you do know, it’s not much of a challenge.
How will Machine Learning affect the data analysis process?
Machine learning means that (if you have adequate computer resource) you do not need to do statistical sampling as much. If you know what you are doing you’ll be able to get more done.
How is analytics going to change in the future? What can we expect?
Embedded analytics (embedded in software everywhere) analytics on very big heaps of data. More use of graphical data structures (on which little analytics has been done so far).
About Robin Bloor
Robin Bloor, Co-founder and Chief Analyst of The Bloor Group, has more than 25 years of experience in software development, IT analysis and consulting. Robin is an influential and respected researcher and commentator on many corporate IT issues particularly in the areas of BI, information architectures, and data management. He is a presenter and speaker at many IT industry events in the U.S. and internationally. He is also a published author, having written a business bestseller on electronic commerce entitled, The Electronic Bazaar, three Dummies books on IT, including SOA for Dummies and The Algebra of Data.
He is currently Chief Strategy Officer with Algebraix Data Corp.