martes, 21 de enero de 2014

A los algoritmos no se les cae una idea

Puede ser que todavía haya alguien que piense que los algoritmos pueden hacer el trabajo de los financistas, los meteorólogos o el gerente de Oakland Athletics (usted habrá visto Moneyball)... o de los periodistas. Los datos aportan, pero sin la inteligencia humana no dan más que operaciones aritméticas que no agregan nada. Lea este artículo de Felix Salmon en Wired, del que entresaco:
It’s increasingly clear that for smart organizations, living by numbers alone simply won’t work. That’s why they arrive at stage four: synthesis—the practice of marrying quantitative insights with old-fashioned subjective experience. Nate Silver himself has written thoughtfully about examples of this in his book, The Signal and the Noise. He cites baseball, which in the post-Moneyball era adopted a “fusion approach” that leans on both statistics and scouting. Silver credits it with delivering the Boston Red Sox’s first World Series title in 86 years. Or consider weather forecasting: The National Weather Service employs meteorologists who, understanding the dynamics of weather systems, can improve forecasts by as much as 25 percent compared with computers alone. A similar synthesis holds in eco­nomic forecasting: Adding human judgment to statistical methods makes results roughly 15 percent more accurate. And it’s even true in chess: While the best computers can now easily beat the best humans, they can in turn be beaten by humans aided by computers.
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That’s what a good synthesis of big data and human intuition tends to look like. As long as the humans are in control, and understand what it is they’re controlling, we’re fine. It’s when they become slaves to the numbers that trouble breaks out. So let’s celebrate the value of disruption by data—but let’s not forget that data isn’t everything.
El periodismo es eso (y el negocio del periodismo también): pura inteligencia aplicada a los datos y no la de uno solo sino la de muchos, actuando colectivamente en una redacción.
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