‘Big Data’ impacts how we work, elect our presidents, and play tennis. It also affects the way we’re watched.
They ask different questions. But all five of these researchers form part of the new world of Big Data – a phenomenon that may, for better or worse, revolutionize every facet of life, culture, and, well, even the planet. From curbing urban crime to calculating the effectiveness of a tennis player’s backhand, people are now gathering and analyzing vast amounts of data to predict human behaviors, solve problems, identify shopping habits, thwart terrorists – everything but foretell which Hollywood scripts might make blockbusters. Actually, there’s a company poring through numbers to do that, too.
Just four years ago, someone wanted to do a Wikipedia entry on Big Data. Wikipedia said no; there was nothing special about the term – it just combined two common words. Today, Big Data seems everywhere, ushering in what advocates consider some of the biggest changes since Euclid.