Google has ruined research.
Okay… I’m being hyperbolic. Google hasn’t ruined research. But as a senior data scientist, I do worry that search in the age of Google has outstripped our ability to gather, analyze and truly interpret data.
Thanks to algorithms, predictive text, billions and trillions of bytes of data, cookies, and the like, we’re used to searching for a needle in a haystack and Google returning the exact needle we’re looking for. We’ve been tricked by the fallacy that our answer will be in the top 10 results.
But that simply isn’t true. The rapidly increasing volume and complexity of data means that when we pose a hypothesis, our answer can be anywhere, anything… not just what Google serves up.
This has led to a remarkable uptick in the need for data scientists. Data science has been the top career on Glassdoor for the last four years, and according to some estimates, the field will add 11.5 million new jobs by 2026.
Citizen data scientists—those without formal training in data analytics, such as academics, journalists, psychologists, academic researchers, sociologists, and historians—have stepped in to fill the void. So have student researchers and technical professionals hoping to revamp their careers. Heck, so has my 16-year-old daughter! Whether implicitly or explicitly, a new generation of data scientists is learning these skills.
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