What’s the Big Idea?
As 80 percent of all humans own some sort of mobile phone, the amount of data we are creating is exploding. This so-called data exhaust can be just that — exhaust and noise — but it can also be collected and analysed, and then utilized as one of the most powerful assets in the 21st century economy.
That’s the view of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, and organizations such as the World Economic Forum. Big Data is becoming as powerful an asset as oil, and it will be the source of many high quality jobs in the near future. Amazon, for instance, has formed relationships with 350 universities around the world to train a workforce 190,000 people in the field of advanced Big Data analytics.
So given the promise of Big Data, what do we all need to know about it and how will it impact our lives? How is it changing the way we see ourselves? Should we fear it or embrace it?
Embrace it. That’s the view of Rick Smolan who co-authored the book The Human Face of Big Data (available for download as a tab let app here) an ambitious project that aims to capture the “men, women, and children whose lives are being transformed by this data revolution.” In the slideshow below, you will get a taste of how data is being used as “the most powerful tool set the human race has ever had to address the widespread challenges facing our species and our planet,” as Smolan puts it.
What’s the Significance?
To review, here are some of the key insights and examples of the uses of Big Data from the slideshow above:
Stay tuned for more insights from Rick Smolan in his upcoming interview with Big Think.
Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan