Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

tags: math, statistics

Wonderful book. Presents a wire-ranging looking at the Big Data phenomenon, specifically on the technological and societal changes that have occurred to bring it about, and what this means to the future. Things like:

  1. Our sample sizes are increasing. For many applications, we’re able to poll n = all.

  2. We’re getting so much volume, that we can start to tolerate “messiness” of data. More data means the data we get can be dirtier.

  3. We beginning to not care anymore “why” something is, only that it is. Amazon doesn’t know WHY people who buy book X also buy book Y. It has stopped caring. It only cares that this correlation exists, not what causes it.

  4. Everything is getting serialized into data. We’re collecting an unprecedented amount of information, sometimes we not concrete plan for it. The big data ramifications of data often don’t become apparent until long after the data is collected.

  5. There is value in the data. The person who holds raw data holds a lot of power, and they can re-use (re-sell) this data over and over as new uses for it are revealed.

  6. How do we value data? How do we put a dollar amount on it?

  7. How do we manage the privacy implications of it?

  8. How do we guard against using data to predict and pre-penalize people for actions or consequences the data claims are probable, but that have not yet occurred?

  9. What laws and regulations do we need to put in place in response to the unprecedented changes that the mass collection and processing of big data will bring about?

If you’ve heard the phrase “big data” over and over and are wondering if you really understand just what the hell people are talking about, this is the book you’re waiting for. It’s full of anecdotes and examples, and the writing style is clear and engaging.

Wonderful, wonderful book.

Book Info