What to Expect from This Book
In this book, we want to both describe and prescribe. We want to
describe the current state of data science by observing a set of top-notch thinkers describe their jobs and what it’s like to “do data science.” We also want to prescribe what data science could be as an academic discipline.
Don’t expect a machine learning textbook. Instead, expect full im‐
mersion into the multifaceted aspects of data science from multiple points of view. This is a survey of the existing landscape of data science—an attempt to map this emerging field—and as a result, there is more breadth in some cases than depth.
This book is written with the hope that it will find itself into the hands of someone—you?—who will make even more of it than what it is, and go on to solve important problems.
After the class was over, I heard it characterized as a holistic, humanist approach to data science—we did not just focus on the tools, math, models, algorithms, and code, but on the human side as well. I like this definition of humanist: “a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.” Being humanist in the context of data science means recognizing the role your own humanity plays in building models and algorithms, thinking about qualities you have as a human that a computer does not have (which includes the ability to make ethical decisions), and thinking about the humans whose lives you are impacting when you unleash a model onto the world.