February 12, 2012

Big Data’s Impact in the World - NYTimes.com

If I were in high school or college, I would aim my career here. The ability to manage, manipulate and interpret Big Data is a skill in high demand now and will be for the foreseeable future because the volume of data is doubling every two years! Networked intelligence will continue to revolutionize how we see the world and how and when decisions are made.

Those in control of Big Data will have tremendous power. Can government 'regulation' be far behind? What form will it take? 

"...What is Big Data? A meme and a marketing term, for sure, but also shorthand for advancing trends in technology that open the door to a new approach to understanding the world and making decisions. There is a lot more data, all the time, growing at 50 percent a year, or more than doubling every two years, estimates IDC, a technology research firm. It’s not just more streams of data, but entirely new ones. For example, there are now countless digital sensors worldwide in industrial equipment, automobiles, electrical meters and shipping crates. They can measure and communicate location, movement, vibration, temperature, humidity, even chemical changes in the air..."
"...the computer tools for gleaning knowledge and insights from the Internet era’s vast trove of unstructured data are fast gaining ground. At the forefront are the rapidly advancing techniques of artificial intelligence like natural-language processing, pattern recognition and machine learning."
"...Data is tamed and understood using computer and mathematical models. These models, like metaphors in literature, are explanatory simplifications. They are useful for understanding, but they have their limits. A model might spot a correlation and draw a statistical inference that is unfair or discriminatory, based on online searches, affecting the products, bank loans and health insurance a person is offered, privacy advocates warn."

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