There is polarized debate on whether instincts are worth following. Companies are increasingly relying on quantitative metrics for new hires over subjective interviews. Nate Silver’s The Signal and The Noise pitches old-school scouts against number-crunching quants to find the next baseball star. And doctors are taught to follow the science even if it sounds counter-intuitive (such as prescribing beta-blockers, a heart slowing medicine, for patients with heart failure actually prolongs life).
But all is not lost for those relying on instincts – as your gut instinct may tell you. Last year a New York Times article argues that big data is imperfect. In his research, Nobel-prize winning Daniel Kahneman finds that our minds are naturally wired to think in both instincts (System 1) and data (System 2).
At the end of the day, the new age of big data and massive informatics does not preclude the need to slow down and use our own System 2 to process whether the science behind our decisions truly make sense. Instinct is neither good nor bad; it is merely instinct.