Data Analytics in Government
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Were that remark directed at government at any level for any function the response would be predictable - could anything be more broke than government. Probably the f-uped conjunction would work its way into most responses. It’s hard to believe that anyone within or associated with government could react differently, even if their outward response were subdued.
Just experiment with it. Think of any of several governmental functions such as military ventures, Social Security, Health, Medicare and Medicaid, mass transportation, highway infrastructure, Education, campaign financing, economic policy or census taking. If you think one step beyond any of these titles you will be inextricably drawn toward bizarre examples of government policy.
Clearly, government can be improved upon and yet government does not know how to use data. Rarely, will you find government employees applying their own data to every day government functions. I make an exception for data collecting and distribution which are not analyses toward policy ends. (O.K., the CPI and other indices are analyses for a purpose. How are the public releases going?) The present state of affairs is even more ironic. I refer, of course, to government’s use of contractors to analyze their data. Every such attempt leads to unsatisfactory results, unintended consequences and often to the abridgement of constitutional rights.
Government isn’t stupid. They respond in a reasonable fashion – don’t touch it, leave data alone. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Only persons collecting a government pension outside of academia need respond. Do any of you apply supervised machine learning in your present duties? I’m not surprised; but why not? I guess I know the answer.