Saturday, September 12, 2015

Introducing Insightamation

What is the relationship between data ("big data" is a stupid marketing term imho), business, politics and economics?  This blog will plunge into this topic in an attempt to create discussion, wake people up to the reality of the continuing data tsunami in which we live, as well as to advocate for policies and services that serve humans no matter their ethnic, racial, gender, class, history or educational level.

My background is appropo for this discussion.  I am a mathematician by training (still working on my thesis topic in Algebraic Topology for over 30 years), a computerphreak since 1963, was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the State of Illinois Medicaid Agency, Healthcare and Family Services from 2005 until 2011.  I also served in a similar capacity from 2011 until June of this year as the CIO of the Illinois Health Information Exchange (actually served in 2 different related agencies, but those details are unimportant).

Some topics will be technical and I will do the best I can to educate readers in the background they will need to understand the issue.

I have chosen the title, Insightamation, for the blog, it is also the name I consult under.  The name reflects the need for both human insight and automation to guide our path forward in this more and more data-centric world.  Insight is inherently human from my point of view.  It represents our ability to reflect on our experiences and apply the reflection on any topic whether already experienced or not.  It is an area that still defies automation, though maybe not forever (look to a future blog on the topic of automation and participation in human culture).  I believe that automation needs to be guided by the needs of people not large corporations, not brilliant science fiction fantasies of "singularities" or other such trip outs.  There is a beautiful book called Computer Power and Human Reason published by Joseph Weisenbaum (one of the early pioneers of automation at MIT) that lays out many of these issues very clearly and is still relevant today even 40 years after it was published.  Many of my ideas have been in response to this book.

One more thing.  I intend to create a national (or hopefully global at some point) infrastructure for sharing data intended to be used in services that people need.  Services such as health care, social services, educational services, legal, financial, military, wellness and more.  All of the items related to the creation, somehow, of this infrastructure will eventually make their way to this blog.

Thanks for reading this introduction.  I look forward to feedback.  I have no problem with criticism, but if you think that insults and wild screeds are good ways to communicate, find somewhere else to post.  I will delete posts that add nothing to the discussion including disrespectful posts.
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