Dark Data

Why What You Don’t Know Matters

by David J. Hand

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780691182377
  • 9780691198859

A practical guide to making good decisions in a world of missing data

In the era of big data, it is easy to imagine that we have all the information we need to make good decisions. But in fact the data we have are never complete, and may be only the tip of the iceberg. Just as much of the universe is composed of dark matter, invisible to us but nonetheless present, the universe of information is full of dark data that we overlook at our peril. In Dark Data, data expert David Hand takes us on a fascinating and enlightening journey into the world of the data we don't see.

Dark Data explores the many ways in which we can be blind to missing data and how that can lead us to conclusions and actions that are mistaken, dangerous, or even disastrous. Examining a wealth of real-life examples, from the Challenger shuttle explosion to complex financial frauds, Hand gives us a practical taxonomy of the types of dark data that exist and the situations in which they can arise, so that we can learn to recognize and control for them. In doing so, he teaches us not only to be alert to the problems presented by the things we don’t know, but also shows how dark data can be used to our advantage, leading to greater understanding and better decisions.

Today, we all make decisions using data. Dark Data shows us all how to reduce the risk of making bad ones.

  • Princeton University Press; January 2020
  • ISBN: 9780691198859
  • Title: Dark Data
  • Author: David J. Hand
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780691182377
  • 9780691198859

In The Press

"When we make decisions in our personal and professional lives, we typically start with some form of data. The very word 'data' derives from the Latin meaning 'something given.' But who gave it? Where is it from? Should I accept it at face value? Opening our eyes to the pitfalls of taking 'something given' for granted, this insightful book should be required reading for everyone in an age when 'fake news' and the explosion of data go hand in hand."—Adrian Smith, director and chief executive of The Alan Turing Institute

About The Author

David J. Hand is emeritus professor of mathematics and senior research investigator at Imperial College London, a former president of the Royal Statistical Society, and a fellow of the British Academy. His many previous books include The Improbability Principle, Measurement: A Very Short Introduction, Statistics: A Very Short Introduction, and Principles of Data Mining.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780691182377
  • 9780691198859