Hacking Reality Through “Big Data”
Social networks, black swans, the long tail, freakonomics — all have altered how we look at data to understand both where we are and where we’re going. The next revolutionary idea, big data is bigger than all of them combined. Big data, in fact, fueled those ideas, but its role has largely been unknown and unrealized —until now.
So what, exactly, is big data? The term refers to our newfound ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science offers us the tools to translate myriad pieces of information — from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books — into searchable form, and uses new heights of computing power to unearth revelations that we never could have seen before.
Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can Con Edison catch the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of the swine flu outbreak?
A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education and innovation in the years to come.
It also poses fresh threats — from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it, to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior.
In their new book Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier explore this burgeoning phenomenon and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science and society at large.
Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University, and Cukier, Data Editor at The Economist and the man who coined the term, have emerged as the leading thinkers on big data and its worldwide implications.
In this book, the authors don’t shy away from the Pandora’s box that big data represents, and some of their arguments may ruffle feathers. But they know more than anyone what potential big data has for how we govern, how we interact and how we do business.
Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier have seen the future. It’s time to join them there.
Explore Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think today.