Software Art Thou?

A series of really good talks

No long agendas, no boring announcements – just food, music, a speaker and their ideas.
You're guaranteed to learn something interesting whatever your background.

Simon Carryer

Data Scientist, Xero

Thursday September 20, 6:00 pm

The perception of data science is like this: You have some nice, tidy data, you use the latest, coolest algorithm, and you get some super clever results. You know it’s good ‘cause your r-squared value is through the roof, and you could play checkers on your confusion matrix.

But the reality is different. That nice, tidy dataset has to be wrangled out of a big, nasty production system. Those cool results have to somehow be translated into a user interface. And in front of that production system, entering that data, clicking on that user interface, is a data scientist’s worst nightmare: People.

As much as we might want to believe that data science is a pure “hard” science, about writing greek letters on chalkboards and stroking our chins, the truth is that what we do is more usefully thought of as a social science. Data science is a lens for understanding human behaviour. It is a tool for communicating with people. This talk is about how my background in Social Anthropology gave me a different approach to doing data science. Data science problems, I believe, are mostly about how to understand humans. Data is a soft science.

We hope you enjoyed Simon's talk

If you missed it, you can check out the recording on the
Software Art Thou? YouTube playlist soon.

We look forward to seeing you at the next talk