Understanding ‘Big Data’

My last post introduced an idea of ‘big data’ and Kenneth Cuckier, Data Editor of The Economist has a nice succinct summary of what big data is.

Two takeaways: 1.Things that used to be informational, are now becoming data, that is digitized and trackable.  2. Information can increasingly be used for secondary purposes beyond their original intended intent.

Big data tends to be thought of on a large scale, evoking images of ‘Big Brother’, and an Orwellian surveillance state.  This matters at the individual scale, which is what EU legislation on individual rights is concerned with, because it is individual actions that create this big data.  Big data is basically a collection of my clicks, my status updates, your online purchases, your online flame wars on message boards, etc.

Cukier is author of the book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think.  

 

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