Posted October 20, 2020
(Celebrated every five years)
This United Nations day - which is only celebrated every five years - this year has the theme "Connecting the World with Data We Can Trust."
It's only the third World Statistics Day (the first was in 2010). In 2015 the theme was "Better data, better lives."
I like the intent here. We can only make good decisions if we consider facts and evidence - in other words, data. We can only learn from the past by consulting data.
And, crucially, we can only reach a consensus if we share the same set of "facts." Obviously, carefully collected evidence-based data is factual - but there are "statistics" and "data" presented as if they were facts that are actually misinformation or disinformation. People making up lies that work in their favor, or people fudging experimental results for the sake of pleasing whoever is funding the research, or people tossing out bunches of data points that don't fit with the preferred narrative - the results of these kinds of shenanigans - even if they are dressed up with the language of statistics - are not factual. There is no such thing as "alternative facts."
It is good for everyone if we develop trust for organizations and journalists that deal with real data and true information. I'm not sure how to get there - but we need "data we can trust"!
The Internet Society has an important motto: "The data-driven world doesn't run on data; it runs on trust."
Also on this date:
Anniversary of the first public school in North America - and:
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