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The Mission Log

We asked ChatGPT to write a blog on the importance of Data Literacy - here is what happened

I’m not very good at writing blogs. I was lucky enough that my dyslexia was spotted early on at school, and extra lucky that my school had a unit to help me improve my writing and reading skills. But creative and structured writing still remains a big challenge for me. (Side note – check out our blogs for really really good writing from the rest of our Mission Drive team!).

What I am good at however, is conceptualisation, data amalgamation, and process automation. So obviously, my first port of call when tasked to write a blog about Data Literacy was to ask ChatGPT to do it for me...

This is what happened when I asked ChatGPT to write a blog on the importance of Data Literacy - chat image

For those of you who don’t know, ChatGPT, is (by its own definition):

‘A computer program that’s designed to generate text that sounds like it was written by a human. It does this by learning from a large amount of text that has been written by humans, such as conversation transcripts. With this information, ChatGPT is able to generate responses to prompts or questions that are appropriate, and make sense within the context of a conversation.’

And here is ChatGPT’s ‘masterpiece’ on the importance of Data Literacy:

Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, create, and communicate data. It is an essential skill in today’s world, where we are constantly bombarded with information and data from a variety of sources. Being data literate allows us to make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and understand complex systems.

Identifying reliable data

One of the most important aspects of data literacy is the ability to critically evaluate data. With the proliferation of fake news and biased information, it is more important than ever to be able to identify reliable sources of data and to understand how to properly interpret it. This includes understanding how the data was collected, how it was analysed, and what limitations or biases might be present.

Explaining and communicating data

Data literacy also involves the ability to communicate data effectively. This includes being able to visualise data in a way that is easy to understand, as well as being able to explain the insights and conclusions that can be drawn from the data. This is particularly important in today’s world, where data is often used to inform important decisions and policies. Being able to effectively communicate the results of data analysis is crucial for making a compelling argument and influencing others.

Making data speak for you

In addition to being able to read and understand data, data literacy also involves the ability to create and manipulate data. This includes understanding how to use tools like spreadsheets and databases, as well as being able to use programming languages to work with data. This is becoming increasingly important as more and more companies are using data to inform their decision-making processes, and the demand for data analysts and data scientists continues to grow.

Data can help explain tricky stuff

Finally, data literacy is important for understanding complex systems. Data can be used to model and understand the relationships between different variables, which can help us to understand how systems work and how they might be improved. For example, data can be used to understand the relationships between economic indicators, environmental factors, and health outcomes, which can help policymakers to make informed decisions about how to address important issues.

Overall, data literacy is an essential skill in today’s world. It allows us to make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and understand complex systems. Whether you are a student, a business owner, or a policymaker, being data literate will give you a competitive edge and help you to navigate the increasingly data-driven world in which we live.

Pretty bang on right?

Well, kinda… I asked the team at Mission Drive what they thought (and yes, I deliberately didn’t tell them that ChatGPT wrote it). The feedback I got was that the blog was accurate and informative, but lacked personality and connection. The human connection to be more precise. There was no headline. And those subheaders you see that are crossed out? They were added in later by our copywriter, who decided that breaking up the text would be better for our readers in terms of flow and digestibility. The sort of nuance and thoughtfulness our AI doesn’t possess. For us, the content and the reader are taken into account. For AI, the content alone is king.

At Mission Drive we also share some of the ethical concerns raised about the system - from potential bias in the datasets ChatGPT uses to the way low-paid workers are employed to try and enrich and detoxify data.

And herein lies the problem; an AI can write an accurate, informative and knowledgeable blog, but it lacks the human touch and lacks human concerns, like ethics. And that’s also why we need humans in the world of data. Like writing, data literacy is about knowledge and connection. It’s knowing how to use data to solve challenges by making better decisions. And what the potential for harm might be. It's not about the technology. It's about making the connection between the challenges you've got, and the insights you need, to set a course of action you and others trust. Whilst ChatGPT has the ability to process and use lots of data, it lacks the literacy to bring it to life in ways that inspire people. In other words, there’s no nuance.

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