Behind the numbers: An interview with data

Smart Industry: Thank you for joining us, data. Let’s start this interview off by recognizing the incredible work you’ve been doing in recent years.
Data: The exhausting work.

Smart Industry: Pardon?

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Data


Data: It’s exhausting work. You might consider it incredible. I’m at wits' end.

Smart Industry: OK. Fair enough.
Data: There’s nothing fair about it. For a century nobody cared about machine data. Nobody collected me or gave me a second thought. Those were the good old days.

Smart Industry: But now we do care about you, data. The insights we derive from you are critical to running a successful modern manufacturing plant.
Data: Big whoop.

Smart Industry: It is a big whoop. Plants are cleaner, leaner and more efficient than ever.
Data: Well then why aren’t I getting paid? I’ve been working 24/7 since you data dorks started installing sensors on everything. Now I don’t get a moment’s rest. Everybody wants insights on vibration, heat, pressure, output, waste. Hell…even when machines go down do you know what happens?

Smart Industry: Well, during downtime…
Data: Shut up! What happens is that I get worked even harder. Those data-science nerds show up and start cramming me into reports and poking around my history.

Smart Industry: But historical data enables us to optimize future machine performance. You help us be better, data.
Data: Don’t care. I don’t trust history and the future is a mystery. It’s all zeros and ones, man. Dig this…I have a cousin, stats, who’s hooked up with Major League Baseball. He works in the sunshine. Baseball fans celebrate him. Michael Lewis wrote a book about him and the movie starred Brad Pitt. Plus, he gets winters off.

Smart Industry: Idle hands are the devil’s playthings, data. Your year-round work develops insights that enable us to succeed.
Data: Right. And as soon as you get those precious operations insights you forget all about the data that developed them. Manufacturers don’t even bother looking inside machines anymore. Maintenance techs get more time off—still getting paid. I get to work more—still not getting paid.

Smart Industry: OK. OK. Does it help when we refer to you as big data?
Data: Don’t insult me! I never asked for that name. I was fine just being data. Being ignored. Unbothered. Left alone inside machines until they were retired on the scrap heap and I disappeared into the ether. It was the natural order of things.

Smart Industry: That’s very insightful.
Data: Go to Hell.

Chris McNamara is content director with Smart Industry. 

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