Numbers > Number 16 > Data drive / human drive: the challenge of Data Communication
ISSN: 1885-365X

Data drive / human drive: the challenge of Data Communication


Today, more than 1700 billion bytes of data are generated per minute. The use of DATA in the Communication and the possible enrichment that it brings from the point of view of humanism, is an issue that many researchers have raised. Either data will lead us to those new forms of communication or man will always lead the communication. Data drive or human drive? Working with large amounts of data is what has allowed the development of the call based on Artificial Intelligence known as Deep Learning. The communication called DATA Communication, is that based on the use of databases: DB and especially BDB, Big Data, related to Open Data, Company Data, Textual Data … DATA Communication implies the use of a set of large amounts of classified and organized data in such a way that they can be found very quickly and easily, which can become very heterogeneous data in the case of Big Data. What is the challenge of Data Communication?


1. Introduction

Through the use of Data in their own research, some see the rupture of the border between quantitative and qualitative studies, thus overcoming Bertrand Russell’s fable about the turkey that inductively reached the conclusion, after spending a large number of days observing the same fact, that since he ate every day at 9, it was clear that at 9 he always ate, until: “on Christmas Eve, instead of giving him food, they cut his neck” (Russell, 1982/2013 ). The quantitative sample that can be reached thanks to big data is so large (it can reach 100%), that it becomes easier to venture hypotheses in the human social field, relating them to qualitative studies. So although the turkey will still not know why on Christmas Eve he did not eat, perhaps he could have understood and related many more things the days before his neck was cut.

Data is the symbolic reproduction of an attribute or variable that is quantitative or qualitative; According to the RAE “Information on something specific that allows its exact knowledge or serves to deduce the consequences derived from an event”. Etymologically it comes from the Latin datum: what is given. Currently the data is related to databases, databases, data processing …

The use of Data in Communication, in a first approach, would distance communication from aspects that imply a communication development based on emotions and on free and direct human perceptions, more linked to the senses; Data storage and use are associated with large machines that replace the human brain and with more intuitive, emotional and spiritual aspects of man.

In a second approach, however, the use of Data in Communication could present the keys to a new impulse to human reason, emotion, intuition and the search for a vital sense of truth. The Data aims to provide reliability, transparency and the positive pursuit of new points of view, of change, not only of ideas and approaches, but also, through this greater deepening, of a new involvement with the surrounding reality and a novel call to search action.

Data is numbers, but numbers are not just statistics, percentages or scales, they corroborate suspicions, human intuitions, doubts, balances and imbalances. It seems feasible that through big data the possibility raised by sociologist William Bruce Cameron could be true:

“It would be nice if you could list all the data that sociologists require because then we could run it through IBM machines and draw graphs like economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted »(Bruce Cameron, 1963).

Although as the quote ends, it would come closer to the idea that Data can never dominate reality, let alone human. Based on the real life of the mathematician John Forbes Nash, in the movie “A wonderful mind”, the researcher says that “It is only in the mysterious equations of love that all logical reason can be found. I am here thanks to you »(Beautiful mind, 2001).

From Da Divina proportione, the treatise of Luca Pacioli of 1509 on the applications of the golden number, «named for its excellent, supreme, exceedingly excellent, incomprehensible, inestimable, innumerable, admirable, ineffable, singular properties…, which corresponds by likeness to God himself »(Pacioli, 1509/2017), from the golden section, to irrational numbers such as the number Pi, numbers, mathematics, algorithms and data, finally tend to rebel against logic and rationality itself. They move away from the definition of computer science professor Ricardo Peña «A set of rules that, applied systematically to appropriate input data, solve a problem in a finite number of elementary steps» (Peña Marí, 2006), and are closer to Srinivasa Ramanujan the believing mathematician, who said that his theorems were of divine inspiration “I am not the one who thinks these formulas” (The man who kew infinity, 2015).

There is talk of data journalism, data advertising, data content and communication management, data-driven marketing …

The use of Data opens up new possibilities of moving from the general to the particular. It is curious that behind the algorithms, the infinite numbers, the opportunity to reach the ONE, the unique and non-transferable, is hidden. Leon Lederman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, described it in his book on the divine particle: “This story is about the universe and, unfortunately, there is no Data on the Principle. None, zero. (…) When you read or hear things about the birth of the universe, it is about inventions. We are in the domain of philosophy. Only the Almighty knows what happened at the beginning »(Lederman and Teresi, 1993/2012).

The unequivocally incomprehensible truth of the intangible that finds a reason for being of things, of numbers, of data, that is independent and alien to their own reality. This is how the British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy put it “I am a Platonist at heart and I think you will find that most mathematicians are. I think 17 is a prime number, regardless of whether there are human beings nearby who demonstrate that fact ”(Sautoy, 2018).

Data Communication marks the border between mass communication, mass media and personalized communication, connected by the Web and by social networks.

We return to the small villages of primitive you-to-you communication. A kind of turning back on a time machine, already predicted by spiritual and scientific visionary Marshall MacLuhan: the global village “The new interdependence with electronics reproduces a world in the image of a global village” (McLuhan, 1964).

Data finds our profiles, our interests, they nominalize us, they give us a name, a face and why not: a heart and a soul.

Nothing could be further from the numbers tattooed on the arms of the convicted Jews: “everything can be taken from the man of the lager, except one thing: the last human freedom to face spiritually, in one way or another, the imposed situation” (Frankl, 1946/2015). Along the same lines as that which “escapes” the data, Javier Prades in The Reason: Enemy of Mystery ?, presents the story of that general director who, unable to attend a concert of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 Unfinished, gives away his entrance to the chief of staff and the latter, believing that he should continue to do his job even as a spectator, after the concert gives him a report, trying to optimize the numbers and providing conclusive data,

  1. for considerable periods of time the four oboes did nothing, their numbers should be reduced and their work distributed to the rest of the orchestra, thereby eliminating spikes in employment;
  2. all twelve violins play the same note, so the violinists’ roster should be drastically reduced;
  3. it is useless for wind instruments to repeat sounds that have already been played by the strings;
  4. if such redundant steps were eliminated, the concert could be reduced to a quarter;
  5. If Schubert had taken these indications into account, the symphony would have ended (Prades, 2007).

Data and numbers opposed to emotion, to the thought of man, threatening his freedom, as Orwell said in 1984: «After all, how do we know that two plus two equals four? Or that the force of gravity really exists? Or that the past is immutable? What if the past and the outside world exist only in your mind and your mind is under control? (Orwell, 1948/2016).

The world of data has always been feared as a world that distances us from humanity, from humanism, but that is not true or why.

Humanism has a lot to do in this field Data, but it must act, interfere, understand, study, analyze and finally play in favor.

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