A recent story in the New York Times discussed an issue that comes up over and over again – will data and technology replace the human being?  Or is the intuitive side of human nature something that can’t be replicated, no matter how much data is generated and number crunching is done?

Nobody argues that today’s technology-driven society produces more available data than ever before. We leave electronic footprints everywhere we go – whether it is through online browsing, retail purchasing, or cell phone usage. Just about everything we do leaves data points. This collection of “big data” is driving a lot of innovation and is a big topic of discussion among investors.

One would think that being able to process all of this data would reduce the need to use human intellect for prediction models. However, what researchers seem to be finding is that this isn’t quite true. While the ability to amass and analyze vast amounts of data effectively is certainly a step forward, the human element must still be involved.

In fact, one scientist quoted in the article suggested that one could fool themselves with big data in a way that couldn’t be done otherwise. It turns out that this industry needs qualified human beings in a critical way. While machines may be able to crunch numbers that would take a human millions of years, they can’t provide the crucial human intuition that can guide and evaluate questions and answers.