Introduction

Per Nymand-Andersen

Data is the new gold in modern society. Throughout history there have always been many gold prospectors and gold miners. Unlike gold, raw data does not itself have real value; to be truly important or useful data needs to be “mined”: put into context, analysed, assessed and used in documentation for policy proposals and policy actions.

The digital transformation of data into information, the expression of the associated knowledge this generates and the subsequent insights we can glean have revolutionised our economy, including the financial system. We often refer to the investigation of this digital data as the exploration of our digital footprints.

For the past 26 years of my professional career, I have worked with data that has been used as an input into policymaking decisions. I was part of the small team that created the European Central Bank from scratch, contributing to the development of the methodology, the collection of the necessary economic and financial data from all corners of the globe and the construction of the indicators for both national and European policymaking.

When I was approached by Risk Books to write a book on data science, I had to step back and

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