The collection of data is increasing exponentially and it is more and more available to the general public as private databases are opened up. This Big Data holds promises of new insights, unparalleled innovation, even artificial intelligence. However, the ubiquity and availability of data connected to our human desire to see patterns where none exist means that humans have to deal with increasing amounts of meaningless data analysis, "fact-based" conspiracy theories and click-bait infographics. As the data is all digital it morphs easily into whatever we want, releases itself from the context and appears on fashionable graphs that may look nice, but carry no meaning.
The decoupling of data and its context is a problem in all levels of society. Cherry-picking “letting the data speak for itself”, or reducing a complex issue to a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) makes the view of an issue distorted, whether it is about corporate strategy, national policy or personal health decisions. Furthermore, because we have an implicit faith in numbers, it prohibits alternative views to an issue or at least demotes them to a lower status.