Thursday, 23 March 2017

According to Seligman, big data is better than wellbeing surveys

"At the World Government Summit, big data made its debut in the Happiness Movement with Martin Seligman."

"Seligman opened his keynote speech with `Happiness is a plausible goal for our planet.` He went on to say `Happiness is the most you can expect for yourself, for your nation, and for the world.` He announced his preference for big data for use by governments. Seligman gave four reasons he feels that big data is a better source for information about a population's happiness and well-being than survey-based data. Survey based data, and subjective well-being indicators, are being used by the governments of Bhutan and the United Kingdom to inform public policy, and over 40 countries are now measuring the happiness and well-being of their people using surveys)."

"The four reasons Seligman gave are that measuring big data is non-reactive, unobtrusive, huge samples, and less gameable than questionnaires."

"Non-reactive means that the subject does not know they are being observed or that data is being gathered about them. The idea is that there is no interaction between the observer and the subject - the person from whom the data is being gathered. Unobtrusive, an aspect of non-reactivity, means the subject is not being directly asked, unlike in an interview or online questionnaire. Less gameable means the subject is less likely to lie, misrepresent or distort the truth. A huge sample size means lots of people provided data. A sample size is generally determined to be large or small relative to the population it represents..."

"Seligman used twitter and facebook for the big data examples given in his talk. He suggests that data collected from facebook and twitter are unobtrusive The question of whether a facebook, twitter or other social media user understands that they are being observed by parties other than those they choose (their facebook friends, twitter followers, or linked-in connections) and whether a user understands that their data is being gathered is not clear."

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