Monday, 20 June 2016

The Fallacy of Data Politics

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” ~ Winston Churchill 

The future is a wonderful place ... it doesn't exist except in people's minds ...  people can describe it however they want so its no wonder that politicians spend so much time talking about it.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~  Eleanor Roosevelt

My view of politics is that it should be about principles, leadership and vision ... an underlying "philosophy" framework that guides everyday decisions and gives them meaning. However, what I increasingly see is politics as a self interested retail business like power play with politicians driven by data looking for market share. In politics today gaining power and winning is everything ... what happened to principles?

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics"~ Mark Twain 
Decision makers and politicians today have outsourced their minds and are driven by data and in "like me" cognitive bias assume everyone else has also outsourced their minds to data to be manipulated, driven and even programmed by numbers and data.

The UK EU referendum lays bare the the problems of outsourcing arguments to data - "Vast numbers have been thrown around that turn out to be misleading, highly speculative or both" without even considering the downsidesbiases and inherent politics of data. 

"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there"  ~ Charles Kettering

Rather than short term self interest I see politics and the UK EU referendum about philosophy, principles and vision - about what sort of world I want to live in.

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