Did I say how good the FutureGov event was in York last week? I think I did but just in case, it was very good. So good we want to run one closer to home. The speakers were good, the venue was good (anything to do with railways is fine by me), the topics were good and the format was good. Oh, and lunch was good as well.
During the day they tried something different. We had a good old fashioned debate. This house believes and all that. Four people made up the panel and each was given the job of opposing the motion or supporting it. Two on each side. I understand that none of them necessarily had a preference, but had to come up with interesting and convincing arguments.
Now I don’t recall the exact motion but one of the topics put was around the role of art versus science. It was along the lines of is data analytics an art or a science? The debate was fun and very amusing. Each side gave as good as the other though at times one side’s arguments would support rather than contradict their opponents. In the end we were given the vote by holding up a simple yes or no card at the end. There was a winner but yet again I can’t recall which side it was. Was I even there?
I remember thinking that the argument was too binary. Life is never that black and white (note: don’t mention the football) and I guess that was the point. Dealing with data and their inherent opportunities is neither art nor science, it is a combination of both.
I tweeted something I made up which, on reflection sounded quite profound:
Art is there to challenge perceptions? Science is there to test perceptions?
What we need when dealing with data and perhaps everything else, is for artists to take an artistic perspective and scientists to take a scientific perspective. Everyone should bring the talents they have to the party. We should celebrate diversity of thinking and diversity of approaches.