World Future Society March 11, 2012
Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies
Okay. You got me. I can’t really tell you everything you need to know about big data. The one thing I discovered last week – as I joined more than 2,500 data junkies from around the world for the O’Reilly Strata conference in rainy Santa Clara California—is that nobody can, not Google, not Intel, not even IBM. All I can guarantee you is that you’ll be hearing a lot more about it.
What is big data? Roughly defined, it refers to massive data sets that can be used to predict or model future events. That can include everything from the online purchase history of millions of Americans (to predict what they’re about to buy) to where people in San Francisco are most likely to jog (according to GPS) to Facebook posts and Twitter trends and 100 year storm records.
Phi Beta Iota: Big data is most important for what it can tell you about true cost and whole system cause and effect, inclusive of political corruption and organizational fraud. These are past and present issues, not future issues. We design the future based on the integrity present today. This is why “open everything” matters.
With that in mind, here’s the three most important things you need to know about big data right now: