Is Decision Science Quietly Becoming the New Data Science? | by Matt Chapman | Aug, 2023

Many of the world’s top companies have started hiring Decision Scientists. Is this the quiet beginning of a new era?

Image by Steven Coffey on Unsplash

What if I told you that some of the most famous Data Scientists in the world aren’t actually Data Scientists?

Take Cassie Kozyrkof, for example. Cassie used to be Chief Data Scientist at Google, but for the last 5 years has been working as Google’s Chief Decision Scientist. Or take Chris Dowsett, who began his career as a Statistician and worked up to becoming the Head of Decision Science at Instagram.

In 2023, most of the hype around “data-driven jobs” relates to GenAI. But lurking in the background there’s another new kid on the block, quietly making waves in in the world of Data.

Meet the Decision Scientist.

Over the last few years, more and more organisations have been employing Decision Scientists. And I’m not just talking about niche startups in Silicon Valley — I’m talking about mammoth organisations from Meta to Manchester United and everyone in between.

But what on earth do Decision Scientists actually do? And how should those of us working in traditional Data Science react to the rise of Decision Science?

According to Cassie Kozyrkof, the aforementioned Chief Decision Scientist at Google, Decision Science is the discipline of turning information into actions.

It’s the science of selecting between options.

She writes:

Decision Intelligence is an interdisciplinary field concerned with all aspects of decision-making. It combines Data Science (statistics, machine learning, AI, analytics) with the Behavioral Sciences (psychology, neuroscience, economics, and the managerial sciences).

If you’re sat there thinking that this sounds suspiciously similar to Data Science, you’re not alone. That was my first reaction, too.

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