Weapons of Maths Destruction: DIKW

While reading “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil, I read about an interesting case where a man by the name of Kyle Behm was having trouble finding work. He was an accomplished student, yet he found he was being “red-lighted” by almost every medium wage job he applied to. This is because most of these companies apply the same kind of personality tests to “weed out” those they feel are unworthy to be hired by them. Later in the chapter, Cathy compares and contrasts this situation to NBA scouting. She wrote about how NBA scouts can use their data to scout a player, and if they get something wrong, they can go back, analyze what they did wrong, and try to fix it. It’s important for these teams to constantly change they’re scouting systems so they don’t miss out on the next multi million dollar player for their franchise. Basically, both NBA teams and the mentioned employers have filters they can use to decide whether they want somebody to work with them. The difference between the two is that the medium wage employers don’t have the incentive to change their selection formula if they get something wrong. They aren’t trying to hire million dollar valued people like LeBron James.

I’m a big fan of sports, so obviously this was intriguing to me. To better understand how these NBA teams select players, I believe I can apply the DIKW framework to this process. The data would be the individual players basic stats. How many points he scores, and so on. Information would be a perceived markup of how that player would perform for the team on the court. Knowledge would be how to determine wether or not this player would be a good fit for the team (with past experience included). Finally, wisdom would be the the actual decision on whether or not to pursue this player for the team.

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