Many Legs And Too Many Brains Dept.


JSON-LD and Why I Hate the Semantic Web | The Beautiful, Tormented Machine

The problem with getting a room full of smart people together is that the group’s world view gets skewed. There are many reasons that a working group filled with experts don’t consistently produce great results. For example, many of the participants can be humble about their knowledge so they tend to think that a good chunk of the people that will be using their technology will be just as enlightened. Bad feature ideas can be argued for months and rationalized because smart people, lacking any sort of compelling real world data, are great at debating and rationalizing bad decisions.

Emphasis mine, and echoed by too many first-hand examples for me to summarize here, but one that comes to mind is the way Microsoft relied on user telemetry to make the decision to nix the Start menu from Windows 8. Few people used it, they thought, so why not take it out? What they didn't realize was that the few people who used it, used the hell out of it. They were perfectly willing to rationalize a bad decision because they had data to back it up; never mind how that data only reflected a small piece of a larger, more complex picture.

Given how "quantification" has become the new technocratic scientism, you can expect a lot more of this to come. Why, it might even become the basis for policy! I can hardly wait.


Tags: science statistics




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