I'm writing an article about our industry terminology and would like the input of you guys.
A very brief introduction just so you know where I'm coming from: I am an electronics engineer and started career in AI/DS in 2009 where I spent ~3 years developing CAPTCHA solvers mainly with LeCun's '98 paper, from there I went to the analytics team of a management consulting firm for 4 years, and now I have with 2 partners my own analytics/AI professional services firm.
So, let me just list a few terms related to our industry:
- advanced analytics
- data analytics
- data science
- data mining
- KDD - knowledge discovery in databases
- big data
- business analytics
- business intelligence
- artificial intelligence
- machine learning
- data engineering
- operational research
- management sciences
- applied mathematics
My point is: our industry (call it whatever you like for now, our industry name - you know what it is - is part of the discussion) have way too many intersected terms with too weak conceptual definitions - we math/engineering guys should be the frontline in the defense of linguistic precision! Math is not ambiguous or loosely defined, how come our area came to be ? Blame the marketing and consulting guys! Just kidding. I believe that are 2 main reasons how it came to be that way:
- The field developed in the academia and industry coming from different standpoints, e.g.: mathematicians/statisticians x computer scientists/engineers; tech guys x MBA guys - and everybody wants their term to survive!
- Hype, buzzwords and book selling: every time a new term come to market be sure that follows an avalanche of books, webinars, consultants, etc, e.g.: write "agile" or "lean" in a book cover to see the effect - you can put "lean" in front of anything these days: lean cooking, lean showering, lean coaching (the last one actually exists, but is bested by quantum coaching).
Why does this matter? It matters to me, personally, since I need to be very specific and precise in the use of language else I can't think, and matters industry wide, since we need clear and simple definitions so we can communicate effectively with each other - it is the foundation of language, common understanding and definitions, we are degenerating it, soon we well be all communicating like chimps and gorillas.
So, before I elaborate too much on the topic (let's be agilean - agile + lean, I am patenting it), I would like to know the community interest and response to that. Being positive, I would like to propose a group exercise so we can get to the bottom of it, and share my reflections on the terms (hint: I would - and do - kill most of them).