Data Civilians. Monica Rigoti used that terrific term in a New York Times Big Data piece.

And the term resonated.

It’s common to think of Big Data in much the same ways as nuclear research. Everybody wants the bomb. Yet, data comes out of the ground in a raw ore. The ore has to be mixed different chemicals to create various salts. Then it has to be shoved into huge centrifuges. These enormous processes are used to separate the slightly heavier bits of data from the slightly lighter ones – a process that’s important if you don’t want to contaminate the earth with dirty bias. It has to be milled into a sphere or sometimes an ingot. And then surrounded in just the right kinds of neutron reflectors. Only then is an insight truly weaponized as a BIG DATA INSIGHT. Boom!

Those interviewed in the New York Times piece estimated that data scientists spent most of their time munging and milling data. It’s definitely the less sexy aspect of the job.

And, it’s something that data civilians don’t quite understand.

So long as it goes boom, should they?