The Big Data Revolution

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger explores the hottest trend in technology—big data—and how it will affect the economy, science, and society at large. “Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think shows how this emerging science can translate myriad phenomena—from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books—into searchable form, and uses our increasing computing power to reach epiphanies that we never could have seen before.


Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Comments [6]

Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

The whole point of the "preferred savings club" cards offered by merchants is to facilitate tracking of the customer.

I have heard that data on the purchasing patterns of individuals can be used to charge them higher life or health insurance premiums.

Mar. 05 2013 01:54 PM
rude boy from Williamsburg

big data?

ever tried to find the cheapest coffee per pound.
or the cheapest laundry detergent per load, etc...
on amazon, bing, google, walmart, etc...???
or sort these by price?

exactly, you can't!!!

Mar. 05 2013 01:52 PM
Tor User from Cyberspace

@John A:

There are a number of organizations who oppose data-tracking/mining, surveilance and other technological threats to privacy and civil liberties.

Some I am aware of:

-EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)
-Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
- Privacy International
- The Free Software Foundation (FSF)
- The Tor Project

DISCLAIMER: Unless otherwise noted, my listing of any organization or other entity should not be construed as an _endorsement_.

Using tools such as Tor ( can at least slow-down data tracking/mining efforts.

The easiest and safest way to use Tor is by using the Tor Browser Bundle (available for download at ) and/or Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System; )

Mar. 05 2013 01:44 PM

I'm confused. Are we talking about daters or data? I keep hearing both.

Mar. 05 2013 01:40 PM
John A

Any organizations besides the ACLU working for our rights in this regard?
Are any congresspersons working towards a FOIA law to apply to corporations?

Mar. 05 2013 12:24 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison, New Jersey

As an IT professional I have infinite faith in the power of all decision makers to

a. pronounce their faith in the power of data processing to guide the enterprise;
b. ask the wrong questions;
c. amass terabytes of the wrong data;
d. selectively ignore the data results, trends and anomalies;
e. blame their workers, stakeholders, analysts, programmers and other non-combatants for the shortfalls in any project;
f. make their decisions based on anecdotal evidence or emotional factors unrelated to the data;
g. force their partners, vendors and customers to accept recommendations based on the flawed methodology;
h. suppress community and corporate dissent regarding the givens, data and conclusions of project findings;
i. restart the process anew without applying any key learning gleaned from the last failed attempt with a new set of equally flawed presuppositions and prejudicial hypotheses with new analysts and new data as soon as the last project has been safely buried.

Big data does not, alas, entail the exercise of big minds or the beating of big hearts. This is a fad that means diddly in an age that celebrates Lew Welch and forgets W. Edwards Demming.

Mar. 05 2013 10:42 AM

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