Final draft Youcef Saidi

We make lots of decisions in life, from the minute we wake up to the moment we close our eyes; so how and what make us make these decisions ? According to David Brooks the decisions we make are either based on  our own intuitive, or based on a gathered data about that particular problem or situation.

I believe it is true that there are certain things data cannot do, and situations where data cannot be used, but the way David Brooks structured his articles was as if data should never be used in daily basis.  In his article “ The Philosophy of Data “ He made an interesting point that we all should be asking. He said, “ What kinds of events are predictable using statistical analysis and what sorts of events are not?”.

It is obvious that we rely a lot on technology and data nowadays, but we have to admit that data has helped human’s evolution tremendously. Now technology is better, faster and accessible; so why don’t we use it ?  Which bring us to the point Brooks stated : When should data be used ? Our intuitive plays a role in decision making, but how do we know which one is best to rely on ? data or intuitive?

Brooks stated few situations where data had been used to prove that intuitive was wrong. Such as the effectiveness of the money used in a political campaign, or recognizing  behavior based on the person’s verbal use. The only  problem was that Brooks did not use enough evidence to prove his point in the article.

In a certain situation, data can be used to change point of views, especially in politics. Political campaigns are important in every country; it determines the path the country is going to take for the next few years, depending on who is being elected. Therefore, politicians need to be careful of what they say, and be able to support their beliefs, opinions and ideas on how to make a change using facts and effective data to prove their point. Unfortunately, according to Sandra D. Andrews in her book “The Power Of Data” the given data and statistics are not always true. Some of them are accurate, but others are not; you cannot tell the difference because they are manipulated with the technology we have nowadays.

An example of political and data manipulation is  the political argument that is happening over gun control nowadays. In the article “ Never A Magic Bullet” by Ryan Somma, he said, “The Harvard Injury Control Research Center has a large number of studies correlating gun ownership with increased homicide, suicide, accidental firearm deaths, violent deaths to children, road rage, and other social ills; unfortunately, these studies were almost all conducted by the same small group of researchers.” I am not saying that these statistics are right or wrong, but people will not seek the truth. As long as they find a reason for or against their beliefs they will publish it regardless of its accuracy or approval.

To support my opinion that data is not always reliable and that they can be manipulated in certain times. In another article “ What can’t data do” Brooks shows the other side of using data, and some of the consequences of choosing emotionalism over ideology in decision making and the opposite as well. First, he started with an example about a bank In Italy when the C.E.O decided to use his sensitivity and intuitive to keep the bank during a European recession, which was not a smart move according to the given data. Then Brooks went on with comparing the human brain along with the “ machine “. The difference between the use of logic, emotions and machine (data) in social life and especially decision making.

For most parts,  I agree with brooks,  but I think he went a little too far with the idea of using technology in social basis. I believe that people are wise enough to know how and when technology should be used. Data Should be a tool to help us make wiser decisions, with the consideration of human’s emotions. If humans invented the machine that collects data, then they should also be able to know when to use it for efficiency and when to leave it aside.

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