April 5, 2013

Big Data: do we really want to know “everything”?

Economy

Big Data: do we really want to know "everything"? - Alessandro Benetton blog

In the international media, recently, we are hearing increasingly about the concept of Big Data, in particular in connection with Obama’s last electoral campaign. I also talked about this subject in this post.

What is it all about? Without being an expert, I know that Big Data means enormous aggregations of data that accumulate in volumes that get bigger every day. Everything we do on the internet, the videos we share, and the preferences we express each day intersect with all kinds of other data, and this will constitute one limitless reserve of data. It’s still difficult today to tap into this reserve, but in the future, the data will probably be increasingly at the base of our choices, our analyses and our expectations.

From business to scientific research, finance to politics, Big Data seems to be destined to introduce revolutionary changes. But in what direction? Is it a way to improve our lives: a tool to providing a potentially unlimited increase in our capacity for understanding and forecasting? Or are we faced with a potential threat to our privacy, that could leave us increasingly defenseless against those who know how to collect and employ all this data?

Every day, every technological innovation – and the Internet is no exception – creates new opportunities for us, but also some new risks. However, I believe you can’t simply be against all that is new. Every innovation is a challenge that tests our intelligence and our vision, but above all our capacity to make good use of the tools that are available to us.

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