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A comparison between the effectiveness of decision making when using computer-driven data as opposed to human intuition is prone to spark controversy. Many things human beings used to do like keeping records, filing, accounting, mathematics calculation, and manual labor have long been replaced by the machines. It, therefore, brings forth a very reasonable argument for relying on the data stored in the computers when making a decision given that it is calculative and less susceptible to weakness, emotions, fatigue, and so on. Nevertheless, it is not to say that human intuition can be dismissed. There is a lot of complexity that governs the human life that renders the computers’ conclusions ineffective. Decisions are made after analysis of several factors is brought in play. Furthermore, there is a difference between being data-savvy, as opposed to being data-obsessed; even though computers can contribute massively to the decision-making process, it is virtually impossible to make it the key determinant when choosing which course to take. When placed side by side, there is a high chance that human intuition will do marginally better in yielding results compared to the computer-driven big data.
Computer-Driven Big Data or Human Intuition
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz brings forth a very strong argument in his text The Faulty Gut. In his writing and analysis, he gives an example of his grandmother, who everyone maintains silence with, since they deem her as wise given her age. The latter depicts someone who has a lot of experiences and thus is easily trusted when she gives advice. According to Stephens-Davidowitz (26), her wisdom is as a result of all the data that her brain has been able to collect over the years in regards to all life aspects. She is able to make an informed decision based on the statistics she has managed to compile and knows what variable goes with another. However, he mentions that human beings are subjected to a lot of prejudice, lies, and full of different experiences (Stephens-Davidowitz 28). It, he says, renders them ineffective, when it comes to giving reliable information. He proposes that computers are not biased, and since they are incapable of lying, they hence are better and more reliable. If data was fed into the machines about human behavior and patterns, it would be easier to predict the future and which route is better to follow. In his own words, Stephens-Davidowitz (31) states that the wisdom that human beings acquire is imperfect, prone to memory loss, and so forth. He titles his work as Your Faulty Gut implying that instincts are subjected to biases based on experience, inability to remember, and prejudice (Davidowitz 31).
On the other hand, Malcolm Gladwell compares human intuition to big data in The Theory of Thin Slices: How a Little Bit of Knowledge Goes a Long Way. He does not dismiss the theory of computers in terms of predicting how things will work out, but argues that even though big data helps immensely, human intuition ultimately wins. In his text, couples were allowed to have a conversation that was considered a hard topic in their life (Gladwell 2). Each of the second in which they spoke and made remarks towards each other came with a different expression and feeling according to the analysis that was made by the computers. The people trained to conduct the test were told to observe every single move that each person made. However, when non-experts were given clips of the couples and used only their human intuition, there was an 80% higher success rate when it came to determining whether the couples would divorce or not. This experiment, which was started by a scientist called Gottman, is evidence enough that human intuition ultimately plays a huge role in making more informed decisions (Gladwell 5).
Most decisions involve human beings, and as it had been mentioned earlier, people are complicated. A good example would be the growth that individuals exhibit as they transition to old age. It is impossible to fit them into a statistic when in fact one can line up five people of the same age who think totally differently from each other based on their maturity levels. A person can simply change for the better or worse depending on what they are exposed to. When it comes to the human instincts, sometimes analyzing and targeting cannot work, but a finer method to be used would help in listening and understanding. Mathematical numbers and equations, unlike human beings, are not susceptible to change, religion, or political influence.The same, however, cannot be said about human beings and decisions that affect their lives.
In conclusion, both these approaches can make a good basis for the decision-making. However, computer-driven big data give an appeal that can only be linked to an illusion of a truth that is objective, while human beings, given their complex forms, crave to seek out decisions that “feel true” to them. Appealing to their guts is more efficient than relying on data based facts that feel out of touch.