The Risky Eclipse of Statisticians

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If statisticians have historically been leaders of data, why was there a need for a brand new breed of data scientists? While the world is exploding with bounties of valuable data, statisticians are strangely working quietly in the shadows. Statistics is the science of learning from data, so why aren’t statisticians reigning as kings of today’s Big Data revolution?

In 2009, when Google was still fine tuning its PageRank algorithm based on the statistical innovation Markov Chain, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian declared statistician as the sexiest job of the decade. We’re about halfway through, and it seems that Varian missed the target.

“Professional statisticians are milling at the back of the church, mesmerized by the gaudy spectacle of [Big Data] before them.” – David Walker, statistician, Aug 2013.