Monday, August 18, 2014

Data Scientists Complain that No One Has Made them Obsolete Yet

In this corner, the New York Times:
"For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights"
"We really need better tools so we can spend less time on data wrangling and get to the sexy stuff,” said Michael Cavaretta, a data scientist at Ford Motor, which has used big data analysis to trim inventory levels and guide changes in car design.
And in this corner, Tyler Cowen:
"What are humans still good for? The turning point in Freestyle chess may be approaching
...even the most talented humans move from being very real contributors to being strictly zero marginal product.  Or negative marginal product, as the case may be.
And of course this has implications for more traditional labor markets as well.  You might train to help a computer program read medical scans, and for thirteen years add real value with your intuition and your ability to revise the computer’s mistakes or at least to get the doctor to take a closer look.  But it takes more and more time for you to improve on the computer each year.  And then one day…poof!  ZMP for you.
The data wrangling (or "janitor work") is the sexy stuff. Complaining that no one has automated 50%-80% of your job is an interesting perspective  why do you think they would stop anywhere short of 100%?