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Greg Richards – November 13, 2013

Note: Unfortunately, we experienced a technical issue with our camera, so this MBA Café was not recorded properly.  This issue will be corrected, and all future events will be recorded and posted.

MBA Café with Professor Greg Richards

Rationality Unbound: Do “Big Data” strategies augment reality or exacerbate frustration?

Is IBM’s Watson smart? It sifts through millions of data points to derive the answers (or in the case of Jeopardy, the questions) to a variety of problems. Is this what we mean by intelligence? Is finding answers in a sea of information as important to management, medicine, or social policy as being able to synthesize and predict outcomes of specific actions?

The data deluge is a known phenomenon. What is not known is whether humans have the capacity to integrate and understand what all of it means. Technologies such as IBM’s Watson do not generate “meaning”; they answer questions based on known facts. Early research by Herbert Simon and his colleagues on this topic suggests that the creation of meaning from data is difficult because humans are afflicted with “bounded rationality”. New tools such as Natural Language Processing and text mining ostensibly augment the analytic capacity of humans. But can they also simply add to the noise?

In this talk, Gregory Richards, Professor of Performance Management at the Telfer School of Management will discuss some of the technologies being used to manage “Big Data” and the challenges faced by organizations in fully understanding how to extract meaning from the mass of data available.

Biography – Gregory Richards MBA, Ph.D, FCMC is Professor of Performance Management and Director of the IBM Centre for Business Analytics and Performance. Professor Richards conducts research into the use of data and analytics in public and private sector organizations. Prior to his work in academia, he was a Director at Cognos. Incorporated and a senior manager in the federal government.