Scott E. Page: The model thinker—what you need to know to make data work for you
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Today, data exist in such unprecedented dimensionality and granularity that we know exactly what is happening at each specific point in time. Customer purchase data flow around the globe containing geospatial, temporal, and consumer information. Investment firms track ratios and trends for thousands of stocks in real time and parse documents using natural-language processing tools. Due to the technological advances in generating these data, time and distance have shrunk. Economic, political, and social actors are now more agile—capable of responding to events in an instant—and increasingly connected. We now live in an ever more complex world in which the behaviors of diverse actors aggregate to produce novel and unexpected phenomena.
Without theory and lacking knowledge of mechanisms and deep causality, we will not be able to make sense of what happens in the real world. Data do not speak for themselves. Hence, organizing and interpreting data with models has become a core competency...