So, What's Your Algorithm?


Author: Dennis Berman
Coverage Type: reporting

The new year will bring plenty of splashy stories about iPads and IPOs. There is a more important theme gathering around us: How analytics harvested from massive databases will begin to inform our day-to-day business decisions. Call it Big Data, analytics, or decision science. Over time, this will change your world more than the iPad 3.

Computer systems are now becoming powerful enough, and subtle enough, to help us reduce human biases from our decision-making. And this is a key: They can do it in real-time. Inevitably, that "objective observer" will be a kind of organic, evolving database. These systems can now chew through billions of bits of data, analyze them via self-learning algorithms, and package the insights for immediate use. Neither we nor the computers are perfect, but in tandem, we might neutralize our biased, intuitive failings when we price a car, prescribe a medicine, or deploy a sales force. This is playing "Moneyball" at life. It means fewer hunches and more facts.

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