Thanks for this Lewis. After reading through Mr. Lowenthal's article, your writing clearly makes the stronger case. The three linked tasks you lay out that comprise big data allows the reader to better define what we're talking about here, rather than relying on Mr. Lowenthal's ill-informed assumptions that lead him to label big data as an "overhyped fad." I'm thinking his view is reflective of many others in the "old school" who fear the rise of using technology to understand problems will cause people to disengage their brains.
These old schoolers believe in gaining in-depth knowledge and expertise on problems through first-hand experience and in-depth study. This certainly brings value to understanding a problem and educating policy makers. And sometimes those proficient in the "new school" may become too wowed by big data that they may neglect the importance these other perspectives bring to understanding an issue. But the old schoolers risk alienating the value of their perspective by writing off big data methods, as Mr. Lowenthal does.
Given that, we cannot sacrifice old school intelligence for the new school, and vice versa, though Mr. Lowenthal's article appears to aim for this. We need to continue to strive for balance, and your article effectively highlights this point.
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