With today’s release of “Predict This!” – the rap video by yours truly (a former university professor trying to be a pop star) – I took the opportunity to ask a few questions of the music video’s featured character, Dr. Data.
Here is the video, followed by my interview with Dr. Data:
Info, MP3 download, lyrics & more: PredictThis.org
Video description: The USA’s Chief Data Scientist designated his profession “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” Here’s proof he was right. Watch the origin story of Dr. Data, who performs a catchy infotainment rap about predictive analytics and reveals the power of embracing your true inner geek.
Eric Siegel: Please summarize your vision for this rap video.
Dr. Data: Inspired by true events, this video recounts my origin story. More than a dance video for a song about predictive analytics, this film allegorically reconfirms the power of embracing your true inner self.
Eric Siegel: A pop song about predictive analytics? Why?
Dr. Data: Enlightenment. Infotainment tastes great and it’s good for you, too. A song can make a topic some find dry or intimidating fun and accessible. The more sophisticated viewer who listens carefully to the lyrics (click for full lyrics) will learn about this critical technology.
My goal was to think outside the quadrilateral parallelogram and make the best educational predictive analytics geek rap music video ever.
Done deal, due to a certain lack of competition.
And didn’t you yourself used to be a singing computer science professor?
Eric Siegel: Yeah, in the late 90s at Columbia University I would show up for a lecture with my keyboard and perform, for example, a rock ballad about the angst of debugging (online recordings are available). And in 1999, I published and presented on “Why Do Fools Fall Into Infinite Loops: Singing To Your Computer Science Class” (PDF of paper) at an education conference in Poland.
Dr. Data: Did your students like the songs?
Eric Siegel: Yeah, college students would much rather be at a rock concert, even a really bad one. One metric used in the above education paper was duration of applause.
Dr. Data: You, me, and Lady Gaga, we love that applause.
Eric Siegel: How many countries did you travel to for this video shoot?
Dr. Data: Well, truthfully, I was going to those countries anyway… but the video includes 10 locations across 5 continents – 6 countries plus Antarctica (did you notice the penguins?), which is a continent without any countries. Nor time zones or currency for that matter.
Eric Siegel: So, no green screen?
Dr. Data: Only for the outer space shots.
Eric Siegel: I noticed you play chess against a robot dancer in the video.
Dr. Data: More rap artists ought to also play chess with their dancers. In fact, that dancer (Claudine Quadrat) is actually a chess champ in real life, with a 1998 trophy from Kimball Wiles Elementary School to prove it.
Eric Siegel: That’s funny, cause I also was a childhood winner (at age 13, the 1982 Burlington, Vermont city chess champion of the “Booster” section, the lower of two sections across all ages).
Dr. Data: I’m glad things worked out in the end, what with the audience joining your party and your appearance on the cover of People Magazine.
Eric Siegel: It seems kind of absurd that, as Thomas Davenport and DJ Patil famously put it, data scientist is the sexiest job of the twenty-first century. Isn’t that status reserved for firefighters? But you, Dr. Data, really gave me courage with your mad flow and dance moves. I’ve always felt I was a pop star stuck in a geek’s body. And now I’ve got the moves like Jagger… errr… like his sound engineer.
Dr. Data: By the way, watch for the talented actor Nic Frantela in the video. He narrated the audiobook for Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die – and can be seen as the first of two individual men shown to transform magically into geeks (and elsewhere in the video).
Eric Siegel: Who are you, Dr. Data? Where do you come from?
Dr. Data: Isn’t it obvious? I’m your alter ego, dude.
Eric Siegel: You mean I’ve been interviewing myself this whole time?
Dr. Data: Gimme a hug. It’s time you embrace your inner geek.
Eric Siegel, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Data) is the founder of the Predictive Analytics World conference series—which includes events for business, government, healthcare, workforce, manufacturing, and financial services—the author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die—Revised and Updated Edition (Wiley, January 2016), executive editor of The Predictive Analytics Times, and a former computer science professor at Columbia University. For more information about predictive analytics, see the Predictive Analytics Guide and follow him at @predictanalytic. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.