They say that knowledge is power. Whoever the proverbial “they” are that dispensed this fine wisdom were more accurate than they probably could have ever imagined. With each passing year, technology, and our ability to collect massive amounts of data, continues to rapidly advance. These changes are spurning huge paradigm shifts in many industries around the world. Data is knowledge, and that knowledge is incredibly powerful, whether it be for social and financial analysts, governments or business owners.
The trend towards what is referred to as Big Data is rapidly becoming the way of the future and Big Data has the potential to significantly change the way we manage many elements of work, research and development and even our daily lives.
What is Big Data
Big Data, like the name implies, refers to massive data sets. These are data sets that are on the order of exabytes in size. An exabyte is million terabytes. With each passing year, there are more and more remote sensors and other data collection tools that are integrated into everything from cars to shipping containers. Along with this rise in the ability to collect and process such large amounts of data has come the rise of artificial intelligence and learning machines, which allow us to process and make use of the data.
From online transactions, conversations, social media comments, industry data collection, and more, useful and errant data is ever more present and along with this proliferation in data has come a wide range of powerful tools to help us analyze, make sense of and utilize said data.
What are the Effects of Big Data?
This wealth of information, along with increasingly sophisticated means of disseminating the data, means many aspects of our lives have the potential to change. While there are watchdog groups out there that have growing worries over personal privacy, Big Data is, on the whole, accepted as a positive trend for the future. This information has such a wide range of uses for such a wide range of disciplines, it really is amazing.
This information will be increasingly used in both political and business decision making. The availability of reliable social data has also helped to make the social sciences more akin to the hard sciences of math and physics by providing increasingly useful quantitative measuring tools for social data. Big Data is also likely to spurn the increased development of artificial intelligence and learning machines, and expand their utility for our daily lives.
With literally billions upon billions of pieces of information collected and stored everyday, it is easy to see the growing need for more powerful analytic tools, as well as analysts to make sense of this data. With the ability to efficiently collect huge amounts of international data, we now have the means to more deeply understand and manage a wide range of phenomena, from health and financial records, to dealing with world hunger and poverty. Many experts in the field of data analysis see a bright future for Big Data and encourage new students to consider this burgeoning educational path to help fill the void of qualified analysts we currently face.