The main tech blogger and news organisations are going through their “being a data scientist is the next sexy job” thing again. Not a new title, it was used a few years ago and occasionally pops up in conversation. The name of this blog was essentially born out of the comment.
BigData doesn’t actually do much to solve any previous problems, it’s there to serve as a method where there are now larger economies of scale involved with the amount of data that is produced. Like I said at the recent DevBash, is just data that just happens to be unstructured, unconnected and dirty in it’s raw state. Algorithms and knowledge acquisition doesn’t come into that definition.
Let’s be under no illusion, the algorithms and working methods we have well they’ve been around for years in the minds of the domain experts who worked on issues day in and day out. The key is not always to mine tons of data to get the answer, sometimes it’s just a case of asking the right person for the key to how it’s done.
Tacit knowledge is “know how”, as opposed to explicit knowledge. Even running big training sets of data to get some learning doesn’t always replace tacit knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with being curious but there’s also nothing wrong with asking some questions to those who know first.
So before you go diving into healthcare because it’s a field in BigData that’s full of untapped potential, I’d find someone in healthcare that knows what healthcare is desperate to achieve. Ask a doctor and tap his tacit knowledge first and you could save yourself a lot of time.