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Good News for Data Geeks, Bad News for Everyone Else

March 11th, 2011 03:15 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Last week we told you that enterprises are investing more into business intelligence and analytics initiatives. This week there’s more good news for professionals in this area: according to KDNuggets, salaries are rising for analytics and data mining professionals.

Based on a poll with approximately 250 respondents, KDNuggets found that salaries are up from its 2010 poll in North America, Western Europe, Asia and Latin America. (There is no mention of Eastern Europe, Africa or Antarctica.)

It’s a good time to be a geek, particularly one with a background in statistics, analytics and data mining. But a bad time to be almost any other type of worker.

For example, The New York Times reported on software that can process legal documents at a fraction of the cost of hiring lawyers and paralegals:

Some programs go beyond just finding documents with relevant terms at computer speeds. They can extract relevant concepts — like documents relevant to social protest in the Middle East — even in the absence of specific terms, and deduce patterns of behavior that would have eluded lawyers examining millions of documents.

That’s good news for the people who develop that software. But for people in the legal profession? Not so much.

It’s an fascinating piece, detailing how advances in computer science and linguistics have lead to breakthroughs in e-discovery, and how that’s being applied to business by companies like Autonomy, Blackstone Discovery, Cataphora and Clearwell. But it also frightening.

The Times cites the falling demand for human chip designers as another example of highly skilled, educated workers being replaced by machines. The paper quotes David H. Autor, an economics professor at MIT:

“There is no reason to think that technology creates unemployment,” Professor Autor said. “Over the long run we find things for people to do. The harder question is, does changing technology always lead to better jobs? The answer is no.”

It might be worse than Autor things. Research by Forrester, as we recently reported, indicates that IT is slowing U.S. job growth.

One tiny bit of good news is that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at its lowest in two years. But this is tempered by the fact that there are still five unemployed people for each job opening.

The moral of the story is, I suppose, learn statistics.

Will we replace our human ReadWriteWeb staff with algorithms in the near future? Stay tuned. Bleep bloop blop.

Source: Good News for Data Geeks, Bad News for Everyone Else

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