Graffiti depicting city with code underneath

¿Cuánta información hace falta para el desarrollo?

NAIROBI – Los rápidos avances de la tecnología han reducido dramáticamente el costo de la obtención de datos. Sensores en el espacio, el cielo, los laboratorios y el terreno, junto con nuevas oportunidades para la colaboración masiva o crowdsourcing y la adopción generalizada de Internet y los teléfonos móviles están poniendo grandes cantidades de información al alcance de quienes antes no tenían acceso a ella. Un pequeño granjero en la zona rural de África, por ejemplo, ahora puede acceder a los pronósticos meteorológicos y los precios del mercado con solo tocar una pantalla.

Esta revolución en los datos ofrece un potencial enorme para mejorar la toma de decisiones en todos los niveles, desde un granjero local hasta las organizaciones mundiales para el desarrollo. Pero reunir datos no es suficiente. También hay que administrar y evaluar la información (y hacerlo adecuadamente puede resultar mucho más complicado y caro que obtenerla). Si no se identifican y analizan previamente las decisiones que se deben mejorar, el riesgo de que gran parte del esfuerzo de obtención de datos se pueda desperdiciar o emplear mal es elevado.

Esta conclusión misma está basada en un análisis empírico. La evidencia es poco convincente, por ejemplo, de que las iniciativas de monitoreo en la agricultura o la gestión ambiental hayan tenido un impacto positivo. El análisis cuantitativo de las decisiones en muchos campos —entre ellos el de la política ambiental, las inversiones empresariales y la seguridad informática— ha demostrado que la gente tiende a sobrestimar la cantidad de información necesaria para tomar una buena decisión, o que no entiende correctamente qué tipos de datos son necesarios.

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