24 October 2012
Inspiration can strike anytime, including at a Philharmonic concert. Here, Rachel Schutt, senior statistician at Google Research and an adjunct assistant professor a Columbia University, writes about a recent concert in which Music Director Alan Gilbert and Artist-in-Residence Emanuel Ax discussed Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto.
Gilbert described the 12-tone technique as as an “organizational rule” (“Algorithm!” I thought).
Then Gilbert went on to say (and I wrote this down) “The 12-tone technique has been mis-applied by lesser composers… Great composers are in control of technique.” (“Lesser data scientists!” I thought.)
I took this all as an analogy for using machine learning algorithms. Don’t be incompetent! In the hands of lesser data scientists, the results will be unpleasant–”unpleasant” in the context of Data Science means anywhere from “meaningless” to “disastrous”. The heart of the problem of course is: no one thinks they’re incompetent.