Dangers in Data Definition – How Data Quality Can Save Lives

(AstroStar/Shutterstock.com) Thought leaders from Silicon Valley to Washington to DC are rightly excited by the prospect of a future in which data science, statistics, and analytics play a larger role in the the shaping of public policy and discourse. But before computers can process large volumes of data to identify correlations, perform classifications, or generate predictive models, humans need to furnish them with appropriate data sets and understand the meaning of the raw data. A recent incident shows how even the most basic data-based calculation can be totally off given the challenges of finding and understanding useful data. A Fatal Discrepancy Amid all the recent debate regarding police, violence, and racial bias, it has emerged that national or even regional statistics on police behavior are not readily available. How often…

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