Monday, August 18, 2014

It’s A Kind Of Magic

Here’s an interesting fact from an article in the New York Times. Did you know that an algorithm is only marginally better than human instinct at predicting whether a tweet should be retweeted? The difference in success is only 6%, which shows that even though Big Data can improve our chances of reaching an outcome by calculating hundreds – if not thousands – of variables, the wild human mix of grey matter and emotion holds advantages that computers cannot replace.

Algorithms might know that a longer tweet or one saying ‘please’ might have a better chance of getting a retweet, but it won’t understand the emotional reasoning behind a person’s decision to. Data is unable to understand people’s responses to words, pictures or video or feel the emotions of the people it’s intended for. Numbers have the ability to show us why, but they can never make people do stuff. A great test score will not trump an incredible personality. An impressive number won’t deliver amazing chemistry. If you’re trying to make a sale, know your numbers but don’t neglect learning the emotional drivers that can take it from “maybe” to “absolutely!” As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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