Since the NYT has a pay wall, let me give you the essence of what Brooks had to say.
He muses on the rise of what he calls “data-ism,” the assumption that because we can gather huge amounts of data we should do so and use it to “filter out emotionalism and ideology” and to “foretell the future.”
Brooks is skeptical of the ability of data to achieve those goals; however, he does point out two benefits he sees to the rise of data.
First, “it’s really good at exposing when our intuitive view of reality is wrong.” Second, “data can illuminate patterns of data we have not yet noticed.”
I often find myself disagreeing with Brooks’ writing; however, I think this piece on the data lays out a reasonable approach to take.
In marketing and research we are very much in love with data. The temptation for us is to overestimate what data can accomplish.
It’s useful for us to consider a more skeptical view. After all, data does in fact have limitations – many of them.
The best practitioners of the data arts and sciences do what good researchers have always done – investigate relentlessly but with an open mind.