Facts are not enough

“She had seen her home distilled into a sterile list of facts. Each was individually true, but the list conveyed nothing of what it sounded like when a flock of ravens wheeled into the sky…”

–Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Many people wants to make decisions just based on facts, believing that they are objective and rational human beings. Even if you create the most objective and rational decision making process. A subjective human being has created the process and chosen the facts to look at.

The other problem with just looking at data points is that you miss the context they are created in. Data points can’t be interpreted without connections and stories. And stories without data can be unreliable.

This is the difference between Big data and Thick data: Big data, gives us a lot of data and facts. Thick data will instead gives us the context and the stories. Both are needed.

Meaning is everywhere

“Meaning is everywhere. There is always meaning. Or at least all things show a disturbing tendency to have meaning ascribed to them when intelligent creatures are present. It’s just that there’s no final Meaning, with a capital M. Though the illusion that there might be is comforting for a certain class of mind.”

– Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata