I have plenty of experience, in my MA in International Criminal Justice, working with qualitative data – interviews and so forth. I know how to, and am comfortable, coding, extracting themes, and even working with a basic understanding of how automated tools can expand and extend our abilities to process the qualitative world.
Statistics have always been a fairly resilient mystery for me. I have been fascinated for quite a while by the opportunities Open and Big Data hold out for humanity’s wellbeing – as well as for its repression. I think the history of the Internet, and more importantly the worldwide web, has shown that the hierarchy-free environment, where elites no longer existed, has not fulfilled its earlier promise; perhaps a promise which some foolishly sought.
Where I have a real beef with Big Data – but even its open cousin – is that in order to take advantage of its freedoms a powerful level of understanding and knowhow is needed: the tools for processing raw data into intelligible content – or simply knowing where the data is to be found in the first place – are not simple asks, even of a tech-savvy generation. And I am not of that generation, this is clear.
So in my desire to democratise the Dark Arts as much as I can, I have taken advantage of a Black Friday offer and signed up to four courses which I hope will allow me to weaponise both Open and Big Data for the betterment of our societies.
The four courses I alighted upon, out of fair levels of ignorance, go from understanding statistics for data science & business analytics to machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence. All these subjects engage me these days in a way that maybe before they did not. Certainly the mathematical frisson statistics gives off would’ve terrified me into wishing to remain ignorant – and this, perhaps only a couple of years ago. But my recent learning curves in life and in study have led my brain down different paths. I have always been aware of the mathematics of life: now I want to learn how to manipulate the same to engineer, engender and even create better lives.
Wish me luck, if you can.
And if you can’t, that’s a big zero and no ones at all!