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What is Garbage In Garbage Out?

 , January 28, 2016 updated on January 16, 2017
Garbage in, garbage out is the observation that processes, procedures and technologies require meaningful input to produce a meaningful result.

Significance

Garbage in, garbage out is a rule of thumb that fights the common temptation to view technology as magic that can always produce results. Specifically, it is common for people to believe that technology can predict the future or optimize results based on data without thinking about the nature of the data or the problem at hand.

Example

A trading algorithm analyzes streams of social media comments to try to detect information about stocks in order to execute advantageous trades. If the data in the social media stream is always meaningless chatter, it is unlikely the algorithm will perform well.
Overview: Garbage In, Garbage Out
TypeInformation Technology
DefinitionProcesses, procedures and technologies can only produce meaningful results if their inputs are meaningful.
Related ConceptsMagic Technology
Algorithms

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