Tag Archives: Big Brother

The Advantages of Big Data

“So in 2013 the amount of stored information in the world is estimated to be around 1,200 exabytes, of which less than two percent is non-digital.”
Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 9. Print.

Some people believe that the world gets too involved in our private lives by gathering our personal information, but where would we be without these types of services? It frightens some to know that they are being tracked on the internet, and they don’t like the feeling of knowing that “Big Brother” is always watching. These people are worried by the fact that their information is at there for most anyone to see. However, this collection of data is vital since it helps our society as a whole by helping people get the best experience out of their lives.

Big Data gives an example from just a few years ago of how the collection of information enhanced our well-being. The H1N1 virus was a global epidemic, and the CDC was doing a pretty good job, at that time, on tracking the virus’s location. The CDC’s process was tedious and lengthy, though, and Google saw a way that they could enhance the process. When Google unveiled their formula to track where H1N1 was located, it worked just as well, if not better, and allowed the data to be analyzed in real time rather than after 10 days or so.  That wouldn’t be possible if Google wasn’t able to track searches.

We can find almost anything we need on the internet in today’s society. There are few things, compared to the amount of information out there, that you’ll be able to find in a book that you can’t find on the web. The internet’s interface becoming easier over the years has led to increase in its use. Thanks to innovators like Etzioni, the creator of Bing, the internet can help us with all sorts of decisions. It can give us options of fast food based on past searches, or it can give us stats on our favorite player’s previous game just from searching that player. One day, we might even be able receive a weekly weather report every Monday because your device recognizing a pattern of you looking at the weather for a week every sing Monday morning

The ability to have these services is a huge asset for our lives. It has already greatly improved them whether you want to recognize that or not. The world as we know it wouldn’t be the same without big data undergoing the change that it has over the past quarter of a century, and there are still greater changes to come. With nearly all of the data in the world being digital, it’s important that we accept the enhancements from big data taking place around us because they’re just making life easier for humanity. Cukier and Mayer-Schönberger understand this; they give us the example that “in the future- and sooner than we might think- many aspects of our world will be augmented or replaced by computer systems that today are the sole purview of human judgment” (12), which is a fascinating thought that has to constantly be tugging at the back of many of our minds.