A warm welcome to the newly re-vamped ZL Technologies blog.
Everyone loves to talk about the purportedly limitless value of data. It has attained somewhat mythical status, like an omnipotent force with power constrained only by our meddling attempts to properly sift and manipulate it. It has been adulated as valuable business currency, considered to be worth its weight in digital gold [insert Bitcoin joke here]. It is collected, hoarded, and stockpiled with the aspirational goal of unlocking unforeseen insight into the way the enterprise works. Too bad it doesn’t always work out quite so simply. Like any raw material, the final product is highly subject to the methods of processing that we use to refine it.
More often than not, it seems that the business world has become more enamored with the thought of data’s potential power more than the actual mechanics of putting it to effective use. With unstructured data – the data generated for humans, by humans – the situation is even messier. Our tools to interpret and process unstructured information are quickly improving, but leave a lot to be desired compared to the utopian data playground that most “Big Data” vendors try to market. Wanting desperately for our data to be insightful, we are willing to do almost anything to see correlations and relevance. But at times, what we may see is nothing but a mirage.
Apophenia is the phenomenon of seeing meaningful patterns and connections between events and data points, when there are in fact none. Don’t beat yourself up over it, though: the drive to do so is innately human. Our brains are hard-wired to build associations, and seeing meaningless connections between disparate information is just part of our cognitive navigation in a complex world. What we risk in a frenzied Big Data society is unintentionally shaping those algorithms and data sets to feed our insatiable need for significance. Sometimes it results in unforeseen results or misguided decisions.
What we’re here to do is take a stab at avoiding apophenia. By looking at the big picture, we aim to see the overall trends in the market, and the individual topics really matter in the advancement of information management. We want to take the chaos out of chaos theory. After all, a butterfly flapping its wings on one continent will not always cause a hurricane on another.
So this forum will hopefully lead you to think about data, its management, and its applications in a more strategic way. A blog is no place to try to fully comprehend the intangible fabric that binds the universe of data into one. But by looking at the different components and how they fit together, we hope to stumble upon the occasional nugget of insight. Besides, who wants an “apopheny” when you can have a truly meaningful epiphany instead?