Artists transform data.

When you’re kind of sure about what you want, but you know you don’t have the skills to do it, you go see an artisan. This could be a birthday cake with a theme, you’re not sure how to deliver it, or what you envision entirely, but you want that creative baker down the street to create a masterpiece for your child’s special day.

This is in opposition to the work a computer can do. For example, a computer can take a picture of an eagle and apply filters to make it black-and-white. That’s a shift in data too, but the difference is form. The computer took an input, applied an equation and produced an output that was related to the input in specific terms. In fact, it’s likely the process could be discovered and reversed if desired.

The bakery example isn’t quite the same. The baker took a briefing in the form of a note or conversation and ended up making a cake from it. Someone looking at the cake may not be able to tell you exactly what the input was. It will likely be less obvious then the transformation of the picture by the computer.

The less obvious it is to see how the transformation is applied, the more artistic and the more valuable the person doing that work is. If your work is a simple equation, no one will value it, and someone is definitely working to replace it. It’s better to work in the areas where there aren’t simple answers and known steps.