The familiar crop of characters—Spock, Kirk, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, and Checkov—are understandably portrayed by different actors in the 2016 movie than in the origins of the STAR TREK franchise. Science fiction like this offers a view of the future imagined from past and present experience and it made me consider where data science is going, whether boldly or otherwise, and also, where it came from.
There is widespread agreement that going digital will help us manage data better, make us more productive, more innovative and ultimately enable us to make smarter decisions—all the way from the bench to the boardroom. Yet, we remain relatively early in the transition from paper to paperless lab, despite the need for organizations to become more innovative and more competitive.
En route to SLAS 2016 in San Diego to talk about ‘Tackling Obstacles to Analytical Knowledge Externalization’ I was struck by the congruity of the breathtaking road I was taking with the topic planned for the Informatics–Data Wrangling session. National Geographic noted the road as “An exhilarating driving experience…In places, the road has narrow shoulders and sharp drop-offs, so stay alert”. The Informatics landscapes of modern science-based organizations also offer remarkable challenges to navigate.