What is Model Thinking? It’s trying to findthe rules behind a particular behavior. Creating a model forces you to name the variables that have a role to play, making it explicit what has to be taken into account in order to predict a particular behavior. It’s great to come up with a model, but how do we know it really works? Just checking reality against the result of our rules. So in order to validate models we need real data.
And anybody knows by now that there is no problem to find data on the Internet. That means it’s a great time to create models! Also, that big amount of data doesn’t make it easy to find what we are looking for, but the contrary, even if we have a very high probability for it to be there somewhere… even though search engines are really getting good at it, aren’t they?
Not to get drowned in data, we must structure it, interpret it and get information from it. To have a better view, nothing better than aggregating, generalizing, and creating models! And it’s a great time for that now: there are many programs available to manipulate raw data. Even if you are not looking for something specific, it is very interesting to play along with the data, and see what can be found out of it. I’m particularly fond of Machine learning algorithms that allow us to find patterns we didn’t see for ourselves, but they don’t explain the rules behind those patterns, we still have to discover them. Or we can construct models and find the subjacent patterns. In both ways, understanding data allows us to predict new values, thus making our decisions more meaningful.
Modelling our world, we will end-up having more knowledge than before. We will be able to create policies knowing what variables need to be influenced in order to reach a particular goal, and we will be able to measure the impact of those measures. We will be able to drive our society to a better future. It makes me dream!
If you want to know more about it, check Prof. Scott Page from the University of Michigan. He’s amazingly clear!