In Data We Trust

In Data We Trust

We have a natural tendency to believe what we see on our screen is the truth.

When engineers in Natanz nuclear site were sitting in their highly secure operations control room, they thought they were performing their day-to-day duties, carefully monitoring systems for any malfunctions.

Little did they know that their systems had been infected with Stuxnet - a computer worm, a cyberweapon - causing the fast-spinning nuclear centrifuges to tear themselves apart.

They blindly trusted their computer screens - but this malicious computer worm had changed the screens to make it seem like everything was normal. Causing a major hit to Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program.

"What do hackers, fraudsters, and organized criminals have in common with Facebook, Google, and the NSA? Each is perfectly capable of mediating and controlling the information you see on your computer screens." — Marc Goodman, Future Crimes

It doesn't need to be always that exciting with such a sinister motive.

In marketing, we work daily with tools that seemingly provide precise data. In Google Analytics, we see exactly 10,398 visits to an article. In an A/B testing tool, we see that a new version is better by 3.24%. A keyword has an average monthly search volume of 1,400.

We like simple answers.

So marketing tools provide them to us.

What we see in a dashboard is considered reality.

But website analytics data is wildly inaccurate.