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February 08, 2008

Trying to understand people by analyzing data is like trying to understand the shape of something by looking at its shadow.

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As you like it, Jackie... all the World's a cave and all the men and women merely prisoners. What we percieve as real are nothing but flickering shadows on a wall. And like a maverick on the lam, the only way we can gain knowledge (and thus remain free) is through careful polemical reasoning void of the prejudice of what we think we know. To be is to do.

Posted by: catmistakes | Feb 20, 2008 10:04:36 AM

And you've perfectly summed up my beef with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

Posted by: Kris | Mar 4, 2008 7:16:56 PM

Trying to understand people - that you never met - by digesting their output is hard. And you most probably get it the wrong way. However, the more you get to know people (i.e. their humor), things get incredibly efficient, reading between the lines, the "inter-record gaps". One other aspect is, that people producing similar data are related to each other. They cast a similar shadow. So while you may not understand the message behind, data can be a source analyse social networks without their participants knowing it.

Posted by: Michael Daum | Mar 7, 2008 4:34:47 AM

“We cannot form to ourselves the idea of an pine-apple, without having actually tasted it.” - David Hume 1739

Posted by: Daniel Schröder | Mar 12, 2008 12:23:09 PM

The shadow - we can actually learn much from a shadow, but here I am thinking as a fine artist would. But to the point of using data as a way to define someone - yes, that has intrinsic flaws. Yet, this is still such a popular way to understand! Perhaps because research provides data, and data equates justification. However, I'd prefer to use a shadow than just my own inner expectations of what a 'user' would be/do. Great mind puzzle though!

Posted by: John Biebel | Mar 20, 2008 5:22:22 PM

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