Data Ventriloquy

Punch and Judy, to their audience:

Our puppet strings are hard to see,
So we perceive ourselves as free,
Convinced that no mere objects could
Behave in terms of bad or good.

To you, we mannikins seem less
than live, because our consciousness
is that of dummies, made to sit
on laps of gods and mouth their wit;

Are you, our transcendental gods,
likewise dangled from your rods,
and need, to show spontaneous charm,
some higher god’s inserted arm?

We seem to form a nested set,
with each the next one’s marionette,
who, if you asked him, would insist
that he’s the last ventriloquist.

– Theodore Melnechuk

Who’s the last ventriloquist when it comes to a dataset? You pull data and accrete it with other data, reshape it, and reduce it, and ultimately make it dance and speak via structured representation, software action, narrative exposition, etc.

Can someone further contribute to the life journey of that processed data, repurposing your representation, inserting their arm to make an adjustment with a tool of their choice?

This post was adapted from a note sent to my email list on Machine-Centric Science.
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