The world is really bad at information processing. A lot of information is processed so mistakes will happen. But there are just so many information mistakes that compound on other information mistakes. This is not about intentional misinformation. This is well-intentioned information that is incorrect but essentially accepted as correct.
The information at the credit bureaus is an example of mistakes that live in infamy. What they to do data is downright pornographic. To paraphrase a supreme court justice, I don’t know the definition of data pornography, but I know it when I see it. The contortion of data is twisted beyond rational recognition.
Sure there is a process to clear up mistakes at the credit bureaus, but you have to submit corrections in writing to 3 or 4 different credit bureaus that will review that information in their own sweet time.
The scary thing is that we don’t have anything better than the credit bureaus that so we all just deal with it.
Moreover. Innumerable websites have outdated and incorrect information just waiting to be indexed. The “Google My Business” service has all kinds of incorrect information about my business and the onus is on you to correct even if you didn’t put it there in the first place, but now it is one more thing to monitor.
Medical records have all kinds of bad information. There is out of date and incorrect patient records, bad coding for billing and who knows what else
It is one thing to be wrong, but it is quite another to let the data contaminate other data. Bad information just perpetuates itself over and over again.
There are all kinds of to the speed and distribution of data, but far less emphasis on the accuracy of the information being shared.
While sharing data more quickly seems like a great idea, spreading inaccurate information more rapidly doesn’t really help anyone. We are bad at information processing and we need to come with some realistic ways of fixing it.
The “bad data” project is an initiative to look at the causes and costs of bad information and ways to reduce the issue.