Santa Claus, Big Data and Asymmetric Learning

David Eaves:

This Christmas I had a wonderfully simple experience of why asymmetric rates of learning matter so much, and a simple way to explain it to friends and colleagues.
I have a young son. This is his first Christmas where he’s really aware of the whole Christmas thing: that there is a Santa Claus, there is a tree, people are being extra nice to one another. He’s loving it.
Naturally, part of the ritual is a trip to visit Santa Claus and so the other day, he embarked on his first visit with the big guy. Here’s a short version of the transcript:
Santa: “Hello Alec, would you like to talk to Santa?”
Alec: (with somewhat shy smile…) “Yes.”
Santa: “So Alec, do you like choo-choo trains?”
Alec: (smile, eyes wide) “Yes.”
Santa: “Do you like Thomas the choo-choo train?”
Alec: (practically giggling, eyes super wide) “Yes!”