Perceptual Edge

I was honored to have my book,  Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die reviewed by Stephen Few — check it out

Predictive Analytics — Eric Siegel Lights the Way

Predictive analytics is one of the most popular IT terms of our day, and like the others (Big Data, Data Science, etc.), it’s often defined far too loosely. People who work in the field of predictive analytics, however, use the term fairly precisely and meaningfully. No one, in my experience, does a better job of explaining predictive analytics—what it is, how it works, and why it’s important—than Eric Siegel, the founder of Predictive Analytics World, Executive Editor of the Predictive Analytics Times, and author of the new best-selling book in the field, Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die.

Predictive analytics is a computer-based application of statistics that has grown out of an academic discipline that is traditionally called machine learning. Yes, even though computers can’t think, they can learn (i.e., acquire useful knowledge from data). Siegel defines predictive analytics as “technology that learns from experience (data) to predict the future behavior of individuals in order to drive better decisions.” (p. 11)

I appreciate the fact that Siegel doesn’t gush about the wonders of data and technology to the hyperbolic degree that is common today; he keeps a level head as he describes what can be done in realistic and practical terms. Here’s what he says about data:

As data piles up, we have ourselves a genuine gold rush. But data isn’t the gold. I repeat, data in its raw form is boring crud. The gold is what’s discovered therein.(p. 4)

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