Big Data: How Data Analytics Is Transforming the World [TTC Video]
10 August 2014, 12:31
Course No 1382 | MKV, x264, 1024x576 | AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 3.68GB
Data is everywhere, shedding light on all aspects of life. Retailers know what’s selling and who’s buying. Pollsters test opinions on everything from candidates to consumer goods. Doctors follow their patients’ vital signs. Social networks register the interactions of millions. Sensors measure the changing weather. And as athletes play, fans collect exhaustive statistics on their performance.
If something can be measured, then in all likelihood a vast archive of data is already being compiled—and it is growing daily. Often, the data is unprocessed, waiting for someone to analyze it and discover new, valuable knowledge about the world.
This is the role of data analytics, a powerful set of tools for making sense of datasets of all sizes—from a personal exercise log to the massive collections of “big data” that define our information age. From science to sales, from sociology to sports, data analytics is unraveling the fascinating secrets hidden in numbers, patterns, relationships, and information of every kind.
Consider these examples:
- Cell phone science: If you are an avid user of your cell phone, try downloading several months of your calling data. You may see daily and long-term patterns in your usage that surprise you. Plus, any changes in your routine, such as a vacation, will show up prominently.
- Hardball analytics: The book and film Moneyball tell how the Oakland A’s overcame one of the smallest budgets in major league baseball to assemble a division-winning team. The secret? Managers used overlooked data analytics to hire undervalued, high-performing players.
- Presidential prediction: In the 2012 presidential election, statistician Nate Silver and a few others correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here, weighting criteria make it possible to analyze data collected by hundreds of pollsters from thousands of distinct polls.
In our age of accelerating progress in so many fields, it’s easy to lose sight of the underlying innovation that makes this revolution possible. In case after case, the big breakthrough comes from data analytics, the mathematical magic that turns undigested information into life-transforming insights and advances.
Big Data: How Data Analytics Is Transforming the World introduces you to the key concepts, methods, and accomplishments of this versatile approach to problem solving. Taught by Professor Tim Chartier, an award-winning Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College, these 24 half-hour lectures give you the big picture on big data, highlighting the crucial role of data analytics in today’s world and the even greater impact it will have in the future.
A Course for Data Users at All Levels
You need no expertise in mathematics to follow this exciting story. Professor Chartier explains the basic computational techniques used in data analytics, but his focus is on how these ideas are applied and the amazing results they achieve. His wealth of case histories and his many helpful graphics make Big Data both accessible and entertaining. Those who will benefit from his presentation include
- those in business, government, science, and other endeavors, who want a view into what data analytics can do for them;
- the intellectually curious, eager to investigate the role of computing and “data scraping” in the modern-day miracles of the information age;
- math enthusiasts who relish seeing a wide range of mathematical techniques address practical challenges;
- those considering, or already pursuing, work with data and aspiring to explore the full scope of their remarkable field; and
- anyone who relies on the Internet, smart phones, social media, or other tools that make them a participant in the data analytics revolution.
Big Data at Work
The volume, velocity, and variety of available data have increased at an astonishing rate during the last twenty years. That is to say, there are vast amounts of stockpiled data, and more is being generated constantly; the speed at which data is used, updated, and overturned in favor of newer data continues to accelerate; and data comes from many different sources and can be put to diverse uses. The miracle of data analytics is that ingenious algorithms are able to process this data deluge, which has been compared to trying to drink from a fire hose of information.
For instance, in just fifteen minutes the number of photos uploaded to Facebook exceeds the total number of photographs stored in the New York Public Library’s photo archives. Yet you can see a picture on your Facebook news feed within seconds after it’s posted. A high-speed computer algorithm allows the flood of imagery to be managed in a way that’s both timely and orderly. Professor Chartier explains how programmers achieve such feats by focusing only on the data that’s crucial to a specific task, while ignoring everything that’s irrelevant.
Big Data takes you behind the scenes to witness many examples of data analysis in action, including the following:
- Google Flu Trends: Google search queries on flu symptoms have sometimes proved more accurate and up-to-date at plotting the spread of flu than reports issued by doctors and hospitals. Explore the pitfalls and enormous potential of Internet traffic for charting many different trends.
- Online recommendations: Predictive analytics deals with forecasting the future, a task taken very seriously by companies like Netflix and Amazon that aim to predict what customers want. Learn how Netflix came up with an impressively accurate movie recommendation algorithm.
- March Madness: A classic exercise in data analytics is predicting the playoff winners of the NCAA basketball tournament, held every March. Follow the system for filling the game brackets, designed by Professor Chartier, and see how it applies to many other problems.
But big data and data analytics can also be a mixed blessing. While the field has revolutionized fraud detection, making many kinds of transactions much more secure, it has the potential to threaten personal privacy in ways that can be hard to spot. In this course, you learn that one of the best defenses for privacy is to know how data is compiled and processed, and which activities are the most compromising.
A Tool for Everyone
Honored as the Mathematical Association of America’s first ever Math Ambassador, Professor Chartier is a champion of the fun, challenge, and breathtaking power of mathematics—qualities that are beautifully illustrated in data analytics.
He especially relishes the links between sports and math. Not only does data analytics give you deep insight into the relative qualities of players, but it can establish a theoretical limit on performance—as when you learn how to estimate the fastest possible time for the 100-meter dash.
Professor Chartier also describes how simple analysis improved his own performance as a swimmer—which illustrates a key point: data analytics can be put to use by anybody for any problem that involves a dataset, no matter what size.
With Big Data, you discover tools that are transforming the world and that you can use to transform your own life. It’s like watching a thrilling spectator sport that invites you to suit up and join the action!
Course Lecture Titles:
- Data Analytics—What’s the “Big” Idea?
- Got Data? What Are You Wondering About?
- A Mindset for Mastering the Data Deluge
- Looking for Patterns—and Causes
- Algorithms—Managing Complexity
- The Cycle of Data Management
- Getting Graphic and Seeing the Data
- Preparing Data Is Training for Success
- How New Statistics Transform Sports
- Political Polls—How Weighted Averaging Wins
- When Life Is (Almost) Linear—Regression
- Training Computers to Think like Humans
- Anomalies and Breaking Trends
- Simulation—Beyond Data, Beyond Equations
- Overfitting—Too Good to Be Truly Useful
- Bracketology—The Math of March Madness
- Quantifying Quality on the World Wide Web
- Watching Words—Sentiment and Text Analysis
- Data Compression and Recommendation Systems
- Decision Trees—Jump-Start an Analysis
- Clustering—The Many Ways to Create Groups
- Degrees of Separation and Social Networks
- Challenges of Privacy and Security
- Getting Analytical about the Future
Consciousness and Its Implications [TTC Video]
26 July 2014, 08:51
Course No 4168 | AVI, XviD, 576x416 | MP3@128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | 1.98GB
It's as essential to human existence as water is to a fish. Every night we surrender it gratefully, only to get it back in the morning. We recognize that we have it, but we can never be sure anyone else does. Consciousness, this unique and perplexing mental state, has been the subject of debate for philosophers and scientists for millennia. And while it is widely agreed within contemporary philosophy that consciousness is a problem whose solutions are likely to determine the fate of any number of other problems, there is no settled position on the ultimate nature of consciousness.
- What is the most promising way to study this subject?
- What are the implications that arise from the fact that we have consciousness?
- What are the ethical and moral issues raised by its presence—or its absence?
Questions like these are at the heart of Consciousness and Its Implications, 12 thought-provoking lectures delivered by distinguished philosopher and psychologist Daniel N. Robinson. Rather than merely explain away consciousness, or hide behind such convenient slogans as "it's all in your brain," Professor Robinson reviews some of the special problems that philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and doctors face when taking on such a vexing topic.
What Is Consciousness?
Much of what we do every day is done without our being directly conscious of the steps taken to complete the task: riding a bicycle, taking a walk, humming a tune. But as natural as this state is, it stands as a very serious threat to any number of core convictions and assumptions in both philosophy and science. One of the overarching goals of this intriguing course is to make clear just what about consciousness serves as such a challenge to these convictions and assumptions.
But what makes Consciousness and Its Implications so engaging is more than just the nature of the questions it poses and the issues it tackles. It's the way in which Professor Robinson, the consummate teacher and scholar, conveys this goal in four main points, each of which you explore in depth in these lectures.
- Consciousness seems to require, for its full understanding, a science not yet available.
- What distinguishes consciousness from all else is its phenomenology—that is, the act of being conscious is different from all other facts of nature.
- Conscious awareness is a power that, at times, can be so strong as to greatly affect our senses.
- The powers of consciousness vary over the course of a lifetime; as such, they can become subject to disease and defect.
Compelling Examples of Consciousness
Throughout the course, Professor Robinson brings this riveting topic vividly to life with real-world examples and striking anecdotes.
- Review the case of Deep Blue, the IBM computer that in 1997 shocked the world by defeating a human, the chess grand master Garry Kasparov. Does Deep Blue's ability to "outsmart" a human being constitute a kind of consciousness? Or is it a reflection of the human minds that created this complex computer?
- Consider the case of the sleepwalker, who moves around with purpose and mimics behaviors we see in everyday life, but can remember nothing upon awakening. How does this mental state relate to human consciousness? What would be lost if we lived our entire lives as sleepwalkers?
- Study the case of a comatose patient who lives in an unbroken sleep state but, after a miraculous recovery, recalls having heard doctors speak about her. How do we interpret this patient's ability to perceive the surrounding world while in a coma? Does the patient's experience reflect some in-between mental state we've yet to define?
- Look at the case of a child with autism who can perform complicated mental tasks but lacks the most basic human attribute: empathy. How does this inability to imagine other minds affect the child's capacity to enjoy the full experience of human consciousness?
Using compelling examples such as these, Professor Robinson weaves a riveting tale of the human condition that will change the way you think about your own mind.
Probe Life's Most Profound Philosophical Riddles
Professor Robinson also draws on the wisdom of the world's greatest thinkers—from the ancient Greeks to today's top scientists—to shed light on some of the ethical debates involved in any examination of consciousness. These include
- John Locke, whose famous "Prince and the Cobbler" hypothesis raised questions about the relationship between one's personal identity and one's body;
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose "Beetle in a Box" scenario holds implications for how we define consciousness both inside and outside ourselves; and
- Aristotle, who led a pointed discussion on the relationship between the physical world and what he referred to as "real being."
You also enter the lab and explore the impact of modern physics and medicine on our understanding of the self. Pondering questions ranging from the most fundamental—"Why are we here?"—to contemporary quandaries about artificial intelligence and the medical decision to prolong life, you'll gain new insights into the complexity of how great minds define consciousness.
Consciousness and Its Implications is a chance for you to view this deep and profound subject from all angles. A distinguished scholar in philosophy and neuropsychology, Professor Robinson incorporates many disciplines—psychology, physics, philosophy, medicine—to explore these abiding questions.
So embark on a challenging and wholly satisfying exploration of this unique, mysterious, and essential mental faculty. The knowledge you'll gain in this course is not only intriguing—it is crucial to understanding the nature of humanity and the social and ethical obligations that define us all.
Course Lecture Titles:
- The "Problem" of Consciousness
- The Explanatory Gap
- Mental Causation
- Other Minds
- Physicalism Refined
- Consciousness and Physics
- Qualia and the "Mary" Problem
- Do Computers Play Chess?
- Autism, Obsession, and Compulsion
- Consciousness and the End of Mental Life
The Philosopher’s Toolkit [TTC Video]
22 July 2014, 07:20
Course No 4253 | MP4, H264, 640x480 | AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 2.53GB
Thinking is at the heart of our everyday lives, yet our thinking can go wrong in any number of ways. Bad arguments, fallacious reasoning, misleading language, and built-in cognitive biases are all traps that keep us from rational decision making—to say nothing of advertisers and politicians who want to convince us with half-truths and empty rhetoric.
What can we do to avoid these traps and think better? Is it possible to think faster, more efficiently, and more systematically?
The Philosopher’s Toolkit: How to Be the Most Rational Person in Any Room offers the skills to do just that. Taught by award-winning Professor Patrick Grim of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, this applied philosophy course arms you against the perils of bad thinking and supplies you with an arsenal of strategies to help you be more creative, logical, inventive, realistic, and rational in all aspects of your daily life, from the office to the voting booth.
Unlike courses in other disciplines, which are descriptive, this course is normative.
That is, instead of merely describing how we do think, the focus of this course is how we should think. Along the way, you’ll meet some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Plato and Aristotle to Einstein and John von Neumann. In addition to looking at what they thought, you’ll study how they thought—what strategies did they employ to come up with their great ideas? What tools can we adopt to make us better thinkers?
With a blend of theoretical and hands-on learning, these 24 stimulating lectures will sharpen your critical thinking skills and get the creative juices flowing with such topics as
- the symbiotic role of reason and emotion;
- conceptual visualization and thinking with models;
- Aristotle’s logic and the flow of arguments;
- heuristics and psychological biases;
- polarization and negotiation strategies;
- advertising and statistics; and
- decision theory and game theory.
Study What You Didn’t Learn in School
Philosophy provides the foundations for an array of other intellectual fields. As Professor Grim explains, philosophy—“the love of wisdom”—is historically the core discipline of them all. Other fields have branched out from it over the centuries. And while we learn in school about these other disciplines—including mathematics, physics, economics, psychology, and sociology—the material in The Philosopher’s Toolkit is seldom taught, and has never been taught in quite this way.
But the material should be taught because it has an amazing, practical value. Whether you’re trying to decide which wine to bring to a dinner party or weighing the sides of a political debate, these lectures will help you think more rationally so that you can always make the optimal choice. In this course, you’ll
- build problem-solving skills for greater efficiency at work;
- become a savvier consumer by staying alert to common advertising tricks;
- learn heuristics to make better decisions in a pinch;
- and develop self-knowledge through awareness of built-in cognitive biases.
In addition to illuminating rational thinking, this course sheds new light on all the fields you studied in school. Professor Grim says that philosophy is best practiced with an eye to other disciplines, what he calls the children and grandchildren of philosophy. For example, when Pythagoras came up with his famous theorem about right triangles, he didn’t have a geometry textbook full of equations. Rather, he employed visualization, looking at literal squares to calculate areas.
To take another example, one of the most important ideas in the history of physics—special relativity—is a remarkably simple concept to visualize, but it took a visual thinker like Einstein to discover it. No matter what the field, The Philosopher’s Toolkit provides the clarity and insight necessary for success.
Systematic, Practical Lectures
As you would expect from a course about rationality, the material is presented systematically, with basic concepts building step by step toward advanced applications. Many of the concepts, such as Aristotle’s square of oppositions or the rigors of scientific experimentation, are intellectually challenging, but Professor Grim’s careful, clear presentation makes the material easy to understand. Over the course of these lectures, you’ll
- see how words refer to concepts that build propositions that form arguments;
- move from visualization to thought experiments to thinking with models;
- analyze Aristotle’s airtight logic, then study the flow of syllogisms and the variety of logical fallacies;
- explore the source of polarization, and how to negotiate between extreme positions; and
- study the difference between science and pseudoscience and how to put your ideas to the test through factual experiment.
While the emphasis of this course is to think more rationally, one of the most interesting topics is the relationship between reason and emotion—“cool rationality” and “hot thought.” While rationality is certainly crucial for good decision making, it turns out that emotion is equally important.
Particularly when there is no time for careful deliberation, emotions, gut reactions, and rules of thumb are the way to go—just ask any firefighter, or a pilot who has been forced to land a plane in an emergency. But whether you need a heuristic for fast action or clear eyes for careful rumination, The Philosopher’s Toolkit gives you the strategies you need for both occasions.
Thinking from a New Perspective
Unlike other courses on logic and rationality, the interactive nature of this course hones your critical thinking with a series of mental calisthenics. This is not a passive course, and you’ll love the many hands-on examples Professor Grim provides throughout. In fact, he even presents one lecture as a “workshop” in creative, sideways thinking. In his words, creative thinking can’t be taught, but it can be cultivated through practice.
In nearly every lecture, he encourages you to hit "pause" to think through problems such as
- the Tower of Hanoi game;
- the Prisoner’s Dilemma in game theory;
- the ultimatum game in behavioral economics;
- the bicycle problem, which even tripped up mathematician John von Neumann; and
- the three-stage model for the Hobbesian state.
With a sardonic wit and a healthy mistrust of authority, Professor Grim is the ideal guide for a normative course on rational thinking. He takes you on a tour of great minds through the ages, bringing them down from their lofty vantage points and showing you how they employed the strategies of The Philosopher’s Toolkit to develop their magnificent ideas. When you complete this course, you, too, will immediately be able to apply these strategies to nearly every aspect of your daily life—helping you simplify problems, think more creatively, and make better decisions.
Course Lecture Titles:
- How We Think and How to Think Better
- Cool Rationality and Hot Thought
- The Strategy of Visualization
- Visualizing Concepts and Propositions
- The Power of Thought Experiments
- Thinking like Aristotle
- Ironclad, Airtight Validity
- Thinking outside the Box
- The Flow of Argument
- Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart
- Why We Make Misteaks
- Rational Discussion in a Polarized Context
- Rhetoric versus Rationality
- Bogus Arguments and How to Defuse Them
- The Great Debate
- Outwitting the Advertiser
- Putting a Spin on Statistics
- Poker, Probability, and Everyday Life
- Decisions, Decisions
- Thinking Scientifically
- Put It to the Test—Beautiful Experiments
- Game Theory and Beyond
- Thinking with Models
- Lessons from the Great Thinkers