A wizard is a person who continually improves his or her professional skill in a particular and defined field. I learned about this definition of wizardness from the book “Managing project, people and yourself” by Nikolay Toverosky (the book is in Russian).
Recently, Nikolay published an interesting post about the hazards of becoming a wizard. The gist of the idea is that while you are polishing your single skill to perfection, the world changes. You may find your super-skill irrelevant anymore (see my Soviet Shoemaker story).
Nikolay doesn’t give any suggestions. Neither do I.
Страница о магах У меня в книге есть глава про полководцев и магов. В её конце я подвожу итог: Несмотря на свою крутость, маг уязвим. Он полезен, только если его навык подходит к задаче. 658 more words
Reading through the conference proceedings, I found a very interesting paper titled “The Cost of Fairness in Binary Classification.” This paper talks about the measures one needs to take in order not use sensitive features (such as race) as the means to discrimination, with a reasonable accuracy tradeoff.
Skimming through this paper, I recalled a conversation I had about a year ago with a chief data scientist in a startup that provides short-term loans to people who need some money now. The major job of the data science team in that company was to assess the risk of a customer. From the explanation the chief data scientist gave, and from the data sources she described, it was clear that they train their model on the information whether a person is likely to receive a loan from a financial institution. When I pointed out that they exclude categories of people that are rejected but are likely to return the money. “Yes?” she said in a tone as if she couldn’t see what the problem that I tried to raise was. “Well,” I said, it’s unfair for many customers, plus you’re missing the chance to recruit customers who were rejected by others”. “We have enough potential customers,” she said. She didn’t think fairness was an issue worth talking about.
Data scientists build models using data. Real-life data captures real-life injustice and stereotypes. Are data scientists observers whose job is to describe the world, no matter how unjust it is? Charles Earl, an excellent data scientist, and my teammate says that the answer to this question is a firm “NO.” Read the latest data.blog post to learn Charles’ arguments and best practices.