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DM: RE: RE: data mining skeptics

From: Collier, Ken
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 10:51:48 -0400 (EDT)

I agree with Martijn's assessment below, which basically boils down to the fact that people are skeptical about magical hype but are more willing to accept the fact that data mining offers incremental benefits through advanced analytics and a lot of manual intervention.

Additionally, one can point to the many successes that data mining has provided to companies. Some of these case studies are available on the public domain, while many others are kept quiet since they represent significant market advantage. Wal-mart is certainly among the well-known leaders in corporate entities that have mainstreamed data mining into their business processes. I've also worked with oil companies, financial institutions, retailers, and manufacturers who have realized significant lift in revenue or decrease in cost through predictive modeling and data mining...sorry, these are among those proprietary findings! However, it has been my experience that these testimonials go farther than philosophical debate to persuade the skeptics.

Finally, all new technologies have naysayers. The question is how much effort/energy do we expend on evangilism vs. making demonstrations of effectiveness.

Ken Collier, Ph.D.
Senior Manager, Knowledge Management Solutions
Phone: 520.522.9303
FAX: 520.522.9307
Pager: 888.528.7717 or

Finally, there will always be naysayers to new technologies. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Wiertz, Martijn []
Sent: Monday, August 16, 1999 9:41 AM
To: datamine-l
Cc: Tjen-Sien Lim
Subject: DM: RE: data mining skeptics

I guess it depends on how you explain data mining.

If you tell people data mining is about high-paid consultants doing   
magical things with revolutionary back-propagating multi-layer
neural networks on their multi-terabyte data warehouse, running on a  
massive parallelized supercomputer, go figure...

If you tell it's about learning from experience and that this
is available in two forms: their heads and their databases and that
should combine what they already know with what they learn from their 
data, I guess it makes a lot more sense.

But then again, that kind of takes the fun out of the field of AI and 
machine learning, doens't it..   ;-)


Martijn Wiertz
SPSS Benelux

-----Original Message-----
From: Tjen-Sien Lim []
Sent: Saturday, August 14, 1999 7:07 PM
To: datamine-l
Subject: DM: data mining skeptics

I'm wondering what you'd say to people who are skeptical or even
toward data mining. I've just met people who really dislike data
and predict that the entire field won't last long. Since they're
my league, I couldn't convince them that data mining is a real field
won't vanish. Thanks.

Tjen-Sien Lim                (608) 262-8181 (Voice)
Dept. of Statistics          (209) 882-7914 (Fax)
Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
1210 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706

P.S. My apology if this is a stupid question.
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