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Data literacy: What it is and why it matters



Data literacy: What it is and why it matters

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This article was contributed by Bill Schmarzo, the Dean of Big Data

What do you need to do to increase the data literacy of your organization?

In a world where your personal data (and the preferences and biases buried in that data) are used to influence your behaviors, beliefs, and decisions, data literacy is a fundamental and indispensable skill. And it’s not just corporations that need this training. Data Literacy should be taught in universities, in high schools, in middle schools and even in adult education and nursing homes.

Data literacy training needs to educate EVERYONE about how their personal data is being collected, analyzed, and used, so as to not be duped into actions, behaviors, and beliefs by organizations and people who understand how to manipulate your personal data to their benefit.

But what are the educational requirements that comprise a data literacy curriculum? To facilitate that data literacy education for my students, I’ve created the Data Literacy Education Framework that provides a holistic synopsis on the data and analytic training requirements – subject matter areas – for everyone to become data literate.

Figure 1: Data Literacy Education Framework

Let’s explore each of the Data Literacy Education Framework subject areas as part of a two-part series on Data Literacy. Then using this framework, we can construct an educational curriculum including testing to measure and subsequently raise the Data Literacy IQ of everyone (which I’ll have to cover in a future article…or maybe a future book).

1.  Data awareness

In “The Growing Importance of Data and AI Literacy – Part 1,” I discussed the importance of data awareness and how everyone needs to become aware of how organizations are gathering, analyzing, and using their personal data.

Data Awareness is understanding how organizations are capturing, analyzing, and using your personal data (e.g., demographic, commercial transactions, financial holdings, health and exercise, entertainment, political, and social data) to identify and codify personal behaviors and preferences that can be used to influence your actions, behaviors, and beliefs.

While most of us intrinsically know that organizations are capturing data about us, it’s the “invisible data” (or “obscured data”) that is buried in the fine print of that website or mobile app End-User Licensing Agreement that is most troubling.

Figure 2: Your Personal Data Captured by Third-party Data Aggregators

A case in point is Google, which exploits or “monetizes” your data in the following ways:

  • Google Ads.  Allows businesses to target their products online based upon your personal activity and interests. Google uses AI to create a profile of the customers’ behaviors and leverage the insights to target the right individual with the right ad.
  • Gmail. Google also integrated several AI and ML algorithms to enhance customer experience. One AI feature is the smart reply. Google AI analyzes the entire Gmail and proposes a reply.
  • Google Assistant. Based upon your requests, this voice assistant can learn your interests to search for anything – music playlists, restaurants, best beaches, or hotels – and make product and service recommendations based upon your interests.
  • Google Maps. Google Maps uses AI to track the driver’s route, estimate where they are headed and guides them to their destination. It offers recommendations based upon nearby restaurants, gas stations, etc. based upon your interests.
  • Google Photos. Google uses AI mines your photos to suggest images and videos that the users can share with their friends and families.

Many organizations, like Google, provide “value” in return for your personal data such as free email, free social media platforms, personalized web experiences, free online games, free navigational services, and product and service discounts (in the case of loyalty programs). It’s just that users need to be aware that there is a “price” for these “free” services, even if the price isn’t as obvious as a monthly subscription fee.

What can you do to protect yourself? This data literacy framework can help you find the answer. The first step is an awareness of where and how organizations are capturing and exploiting your personal data for their own monetization purposes. Be aware of what data you are sharing via the apps on your phone, the customer loyalty programs to which you belong, and your engagement data on websites and social media.  But even then, there will be questionable organizations that will skirt the privacy laws to capture more of your personal data for their own nefarious acts (spam, phishing, identity theft, ransomware, and more).

2. Decision literacy

Whether we are aware of it or not, everyone creates a “model” to guide their decisions. In my blog “Making Informed Decisions in Imperfect Situations“, I discussed how humans naturally create decision models to support their decisions, whether it’s decisions about deciding what route to take home from work, what to pick up at the grocery store, or how to pitch to a power baseball hitter like Mike Trout. And the comprehensive nature of the decision model depends upon the importance of the decision and the costs associated with making a wrong decision.

  • With a high impact decision such as buying a house, buying a car, or deciding where to go on vacation, we build fairly extensive models by gathering and assessing a wide variety of data in order to aid in making an “optimal” decision.
  • Other decision models are less impactful, so we use “rules of thumbs” or heuristic decision models to support decisions such as changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles, seeing a dentist every 6 months, or changing your underwear at least once a week.
Figure 3: Informed Decision-making Framework

Decision Literacy is an awareness of how humans make decision models – some very comprehensive and others using “rules of thumb” depending upon the cost of the decision being wrong – to help us make more informed, more accurate, more profitable, and safer decisions.

When making decisions, how one frames the decision is everything. If you come into this process with your mind already made up (i.e., to prove or validate a decision that you have already made), then you will gravitate towards data that supports your position and fabricate reasons to ignore the data that runs counter to your position.  If you have a vested interest in a certain decision outcome, then your objectivity is threatened, and the results of your analysis are likely to be biased.

Also, the human brain is a poor decision-making tool.  Human decision-making evolved from millions of years of survival on the savanna.  Humans became very good at pattern recognition and extrapolation:  from “That looks just a harmless log behind that patch of grass,” to “Yum, that looks like an antelope!” to “YIKES, that’s actually a saber-toothed tiger!!”  Necessity dictated that we become very good at recognizing patterns and making quick, instinctive survival decisions based upon those patterns.  

To make matters worse, humans are lousy number crunchers (guess we didn’t need to crunch many numbers to spot that saber-toothed tiger). Consequently, humans have learned to rely upon heuristics, gut feel, rules of thumb, anecdotal information, and intuition as our decision models. But these decision models are inherently flawed and fail us in a world of very large, widely varied, high-velocity data sources.  

One only needs to visit Las Vegas to see our human decision-making flaws at work. Yea, casinos don’t build those magnificent monuments to human stupidity because they give away money.

Figure 4: Human Decision-Making Flaws

Beyond data literacy to prediction literacy: A framework

What do we need to do to increase the data literacy of our organization?

In this article, I introduced the subject matter areas of the Data Literacy Educational Framework, a framework that organizations, universities, high schools, and even adult education can use to create a holistic data literacy educational curriculum. Then I deep dived into the first two subject areas of the Data Literacy Educational Framework:

  • Subject Area #1: Data Awareness which talked about how everyone needs to be aware how their personal data is being captured and used to influence or manipulate how we think and the decisions that we make.
  • Subject Area #2: Decision Literacy which discussed how humans make models of various complexity to make more informed and accurate decisions.

In a world where your personal data, and the preferences or biases buried in that data, are being used to directly influence our behaviors, beliefs, and decisions, we must teach data literacy to EVERYONE.

Otherwise, we might be persuaded into believing that the earth is flat…

This article is part one of a two-part series.

Bill Schmarzo is an author, educator, innovator, and influencer with a career that spans more than 30 years.


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AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall



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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.

The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.

Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.

In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.

“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-

performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”

AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors

The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.

During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.

In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.

AMD Socket AM5 Platform

The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.

And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.

Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.

The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.

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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores



AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.

Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.

AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.

Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.

While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront



Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront

With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.

In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.

At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock  and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.

Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.

However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.

“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.

Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”

One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.

“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.

Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers. 

Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”


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