Paraphrasing Tyler Cowen’s “markets in everything” this blog is about analytics in… well, everything. It’s ambitious attempt from the author to expand on his own quick and dirty number crunching that happens regularly (but doesn’t get published). Let’s not kid ourselves, it is desperate attempt to stay committed and force myself to be more structured 🙂 It’s also good way to continue exploring and staying up to date with technology part of the equation.
If you are into analytics, did you ever ask yourself why do you like it? What is so fulfilling about playing with data? In my case it’s about knowing and making better decisions. On a quest for improved decision-making analytics could be our best tool and while we are making enormous progress in ML and AI, there is still lot of low-hanging fruit that remains to be picked in everyday life. It’s not about lacking technology, it’s about evolutionary wiring of our brains. Our perception of the world is being generated by our brain and can be considered as merely a model of reality written in neural patterns. Reality in fact exists outside our mind and we are constructing models based on what we glimpse through our senses.
As Daniel Kahneman thought us, there are two principal modes of thought – so called “System 1” which is fast, instinctive and intuitive, and “System 2” which is much slower, more deliberative and more logical. It can be said that quick heuristics of “System 1” are our default modus operandi, while switching to “System 2” requires deliberation and effort. Data-driven culture and analytical models can augment our thinking, complement our “System 2” and make us more disciplined when it comes to fact-based decision making. Think of it as ensemble modelling, we are complementing our brain models with analytical models in order to gain better knowledge and produce more accurate predictions.
But don’t get me wrong, as I don’t want to sound pretentious – this blog will not result in some groundbreaking ML/AI stuff, because it’s not about that. It’s about playing with numbers, doing mathematical/analytical exercises (while also learning new technologies)… in short, it’s about analytical approach to problem solving and training your brain so switching to “System 2” becomes as natural and effortless as possible. It’s about building your own mental models. We live in the era of information overload, so it’s very hard to make sense of it all, especially if you use brute-force approach. As Charlie Munger once said it, you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a network of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head and more you have the better… because foxes are smarter than hedgehogs 🙂