Nate Silver’s advice for avoiding big data pitfalls

Statistical-data guru Nate Silver says the rapid rise of big data can provide great insights, but also can be dangerous when misused.
Speaking at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association’s 2013 MIMA Summit Tuesday, Silver told an audience of about 1,000 people that attempts to predict the future often come with a mix of success and failure. “Often we we take a step backward before we take a step forward,” he said. Silver — who gained national acclaim for accurately predicting the outcome of the 2012 presidential election on his political website, — said it’s not just about looking at the numbers, but looking for relationships and connections within those numbers. It’s important to understand the margin of error and to be on the lookout for false positives.

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