Forum 2: Big Data

Big data seems to be driving the global future, from individual human lives to corporate, national and global decision making.

Read the report by Pew institute on the main theme of Internet future and big data and watch the TED talk on Big data , point out on the forum why you think big data is important, what are its social and political implications and use minimum two posts to respond to your classmates posts, where you can agree with them or disagree with their posts, do focus on the findings and comments you find in the report but you are free to refer to real world examples and any example or theme you find relevant to your discussion.

Link to report:Big Data

TED Talk:

Additional Reading and Video from Davos 2015: Big Data

Davos 2015 In Tech we trust:

The Pew report focuses on Two key arguments,

1)      Big Data are drawn together in ways that will improve social, political, and economic intelligence.

2)       Big Data could cause more problems than it solves between now and 2020.

You can use these two themes and develop an argument supporting both or taking one side of it and you do need to respond or comment on observations made by your peers

 You can start commenting from 01/29 to 02/04


86 thoughts on “Forum 2: Big Data

    Trent Rosenberg said:
    January 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I found both the article and TED talk to be very interesting and a little scary. Starting with the TED talk, the idea of having cars that can wake you up when you start to nod off, or to have cars literally not run at all because the sensors in the seat of the car don’t match your back seems like all positive things. However, as I listened to this all I could think of was how many problems cars have today, and all the recalls that they have. My dad had a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few years back and it had all the new features, touch screen, navigation, etc… However, that car had more problems than any other car we’ve ever had and my dad traded it in after not even having it for 2 years. So I’m worried that putting more information in a car might have even more severe effects. Like if the sensors malfunction and you can’t even drive your own car, or the internal horn that wakes you up suddenly thinks you are falling asleep when your not and won’t stop honking. These problems will probably be solved, just like other issues that have come up in the past but its just what came to my mind first.

    Looking now at the article, I thought one of the most important facts was the 39% of people who thought “human and machine analysis of Big Data will cause more problems than it solves by 2020.” I think I tend to agree with these 39% but I really hope I am wrong. A world with less problems would most certainly be ideal, but at the moment Im not sure its going to happen strictly through Big Data. Does anyone disagree?

      Emilio Nilooban said:
      January 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      If we take into account how long the internet has been in existence and how nascent the whole concept of big data and IoTs are, I would have to agree with the 39% of individuals as well. The internet and the amount of data that it contains can be manipulated and interpreted by different people. If that’s the case, we are more likely to get misled and produce more mistakes. That said, I am optimistic that big data will someday be regulated to a degree that it would guarantee results that are immune to contortion in its interpretation and all-in-all be more accurate. How to accomplish this goal is definitely going to be a challenge.

        Michael LeFevre said:
        January 31, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        I think that with the changes in Big Data, and the advancements in IoTs, it is nearly impossible to say that “human and machine analysis of Big Data will cause more problems than it solves by 2020”. I think people become scared and hesitant to immerse themselves into “new” technology and IoTs because they fear the government, and think that they are using this data for different reasoning, but I believe it is a huge advantage.

        As Hal Varian, chief economist at Google said in the article, “In the next decade we will see a public/private partnership that allows the government to take advantage of some of these private sector data stores. This is likely to lead to a better informed, more pro-active fiscal and monetary policy”. With government departments and private corporations working together, I believe it will become much easier and quicker to solve global challenges such as medical care, maintaining security, and global warming.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      January 31, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      i like the point about the self-driving car but the larger point is would you prefer a car that learns more about you, and what does that mean in the context of being human

        Jake Levin said:
        February 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        I certainly would prefer a car that learns about me to a regular car. Just as we customize our smartphones to fit our tastes and preferences through applications that either provide us with information and make our life easier and more enjoyable I feel that a car customized to my own needs and habits would be extremely beneficial. As humans we have been adapting to changing cultures and norms of society since the beginning of time and in terms of the context of being a human this technological revolution found in big data is something I see that can define our future.

        Trent Rosenberg said:
        February 4, 2016 at 8:33 pm

        Again it makes me a little nervous. I like the idea of being in control of my own car. I understand that a car that knows more about me would be cool, but I don’t need the car to know that information in order to drive. Jake is correct, humans are always adapting but sometimes I think we try to adapt or change to fast. We should focus on mastering what we already have before moving on to something “better”. I think thats the way we become a better society overall.

      Will Kauppila said:
      February 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I agree with Trent when he said that he found the articles and TED talk interesting but scary. I think our society’s ever-increasing reliance on technology feeds into a desire for expediency in all facets of life that is definitely of cause for concern. The video seems to make it clear that events like Snowden’s breach of the NSA servers, or the recent Wall Street crash are actually quite minor in comparison to what could happen if Big Data continues to expand at its current rate. I like Trent’s analogy with the car here, wouldn’t it just be safer to just leave some things as they are in a sense, or at least slow down and think before simply coming out with a newer, faster, or more automated prototype?

        Trent Rosenberg said:
        February 4, 2016 at 8:28 pm

        But thats not the American way! We need it to be faster, better, cooler and usually less healthy for us right now!!! I’m just kidding, but I do think we could slow down a little. Sometimes I think we too easily substitute the word “new” for “better”. Changing the way we are is probably is not that realistic, but one can hope right?

      Andrew Reiley said:
      February 2, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      The comment you have about the Jeep Grand Cherokee is an interesting one. Another reason could be because Jeep has a recurring problem with recalls, specifically in the fuel tank placement. With Big Data, they should have been able to avoid this problem, but it happens year in and year out with the Cherokee.

        Dylan Kirby said:
        February 3, 2016 at 11:24 pm

        I agree with both of the above comments. Another interesting point in relation to big data and the automobile industry is as cars gain more senosors and electronics to acquire data they are also becoming targets of an elite group of hackers. Last year, a group of hackers in the mid west were able to remotely gain control of a Jeep Cherokee by simply breaking a code in the cars software. Just some food for thought because while we spend a lot of time talking about “big data” we don’t seem to spend time talking about how the sensors and software that tabulate data are very vonerable to outside attack.

      Thomas Mathiasen said:
      February 4, 2016 at 10:52 am

      I think you make a really interesting point Trent. As we become more reliant on the technology in our lives, using your example cars, we have become accustomed to throwing something out when it no longer works. This sounds somewhat old fashioned, but sometimes too much technology can hinder us. Sure its useful to let us know if we need an oil change or need new washer fluid, but it takes away from our ability to do maintenance on our vehicles. In many ways, we have drifted away from a time when you would see someone working on their car on a weekend and more to a time where we see something like a car as a disposable item, simply because of its technology.

        Trent Rosenberg said:
        February 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        I hadn’t really thought of them as disposable Tom but you bring up an excellent point in that as well. I like the idea that too much technology can hinder us. It’s like those advertisements where interviewer would ask a child a simple question and they would immediately pull out there phone and google it. People no longer feel the need to retain facts because they are all accessible on our devices. This is sort of a tangent from the actual discussion but, I thought it related well to your “disposable” comment.

    Emilio Nilooban said:
    January 30, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    In reading the report, I find myself wondering whether the accumulation and sharing capacity of big data outweighs the potential consequences that could arise in its use or interpretation. Personally, I seem to be on good accord with both sides of the argument. On the one hand, big data can be perceived as the ultimate tool to garner a mass amount of information in order to boost productivity in the workplace and find/create solutions to problems that are present in the world today (i.e. anti-terrorism, climate change & cures to fatal diseases). Big data in this sense can improve our quality of life and provide a more optimistic view of our nation’s security. However, arguments against big data also have strong points that can’t be overlooked or neglected. An opponent against big data has made a valid point that us humans can be very reliant on the Internet of Things to calculate numbers/statistics and can easily forget about the implications and errors these IoTs can produce. We have to remember that we created these IoTs and that, in it’s creation, is exposed to human error. It’s also worth noting that the interpretation of big data varies from person to person and that the use of data can be construed which in turn would question the accuracy and legitimacy of the data.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      January 31, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      do you think that it will create a data divide or data poverty socially?

        Will Kauppila said:
        February 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        I couldn’t say for certain, but I believe that the MGI’s findings that only a select few huge companies such as Amazon and Google truly have “successfully implemented Big Data analytics as a foundation for enterprise may lead to an answer. While these companies have the capacity and capital to lead the frontier of innovation, it is clear that those enterprises without similar resources have failed to compete and haven’t seen the same type of return on investment. As we discussed in class last week, less than half the world has access to the internet, so if even big companies are struggling to integrate successfully with Big Data, what does that say that for everyone one else, or developing third world countries? In this sense, I think that we are probably headed towards what Harinda refers to as a data divide and social data poverty.

        Dylan Kirby said:
        February 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        Good question. From the research report a powerful section spoke about the future of big data and how it can naturally take two distinct shapes (in time); either to increase overall social benefit or to allow a select few to amass high level of economic profits. Obviously those with high levels of capital can use big data to gain a competitive edge over the competition, leaving the “mom & pop” type of firm to become obsolete without the use of data. I can see this leading to a data divided economy which has the potential to completely shut out of business the firms that choose not to adapt and invest in the usage of big data.

        Bob Bennett said:
        February 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        Despite TED talks being generally optimistic, I was still surprised when this question was not brought up in the video as it definitely warrants attention. Typically when new technology is introduced most people do benefit but the gaps of inequality running along social, political, and economic lines are also exasperated at unforeseen or unpredictable rates. Additionally as Will pointed out in an earlier comment, more than half of world’s population doesn’t have access to the internet, which leads me to believe that Big Data will only immediately benefit those possessing access to the web and widen the global data divide.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        February 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        This is where we can have a more political debate about the power of big data in the context of who controls, accesses and cyber security nightmare when people with such access start manipulating data what will be the repercussions, they will be worst that VW cheating emission systems in its cars

      Tim Lasusa said:
      February 1, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      This topic of big data I find to be very interesting and it reminds me of a book that I read for another class. I think Emilios points are the same ones that are brought up in the fictional novel called The Circle. “The Circle” by David Eggers, follows a character, who begins working at a private company aptly named The Circle. The novel takes us through the characters journey as she rises the ranks of what would be the equivalent of Google if Google had consumed Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Apple, LG, etc etc. The novel truly shows how scary things can be when large companies are aligned with the government and have power over big data and IoTs. It shows a life with almost no privacy and what happens when everything is connected. I highly recommend others to check it out as it is perfect for this topic.

    Michael LeFevre said:
    January 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    After completing the reading and video, I believe that Big Data is extremely important and can have monumental impacts on the world and change the way society operates every day. While walking through the pub, I heard someone say, “All I really need is my phone when I go out” and after watching the TED talk I can understand where this student was coming from. Big Data has created the “liquidity of information” and allowed information to be processed quicker and allow “things” to process data. Cell phones are now used for credit card payments, searching the web, and posting data and information all over the world. While I believe that the political and economic advantages are important, I do not believe that it is as crucial as the impact it has on our society.

    I also enjoyed listening to how Arthur Samuel created a program that allowed him to play checkers at work, and the process and data that go into creating something like an app, or game on our cell phones and computers.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      January 31, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      What do you think will be the social implications of Big Data?

        Ness Billimoria said:
        January 31, 2016 at 11:46 pm

        After reading the Pew Institute article and watching the recommended videos, the social implications of Big Data did not strike me. However, after some thinking, I feel that Big Data could benefit social organizations such as charities. Just like a big consumer company can use Big Data to better personalize its services, so can charities. Using data available, charities can re-focus their target markets, improve advocacy, better its fundraising targets, and so on. This data has the potential to cut down on unnecessary advertising to those uninterested, for example. Different social organizations can potentially share data with each other. However, only large charitable (social) organizations will be able to benefit from this. Smaller charities won’t have the expertise, money, or tools required for this, and gaining access to other organizations’ Big Data through collaborations will be the only way to change that and seriously benefit them.

        Michael LeFevre said:
        February 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        I believe that Big Data will be able to help foster a community which is better to live in as a member of society. Being able to have access to technology and data that can help detect and communicate location, movement, vibration, temperature, humidity, and even chemical changes in the air. These advancements will not only make everyday life much easier, but also allow people to live much healthier and longer.

        In a recent NY Times article I found, “Apple bought Siri in 2010, and kept feeding it more data. Now, with people supplying millions of questions, Siri is becoming an increasingly adept personal assistant, offering reminders, weather reports, restaurant suggestions and answers to an expanding universe of questions”. If we are able to produce a “personal assistant” through our smart-phones, the possibilities are endless and I believe the social impact will be much more immense and noticeable.

        Dylan Kirby said:
        February 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm

        After reading the report and watching the TedTalk I believe big data will lead to an overall social benefit at least in terms of creating a more healthy and physically active society. Driving the increase in social benefit in relation to big data are the tools such as Fitbit and Jawbone like products that use data to track fitness activity, sleep patterns, and other biometrics. In addition to getting more groups of people physically active, big data can also be used in the healthcare sector to better predict widespread sickness trends and other patterns. The overall possibility for social implications are quite endless, it’s just a matter of how we somehow figure out a way to govern the data.

        Thomas Mathiasen said:
        February 4, 2016 at 11:12 am

        I think another social implication can be greater participation in political contests, like we discussed in class on Tuesday. Campaigns now have access to your web and internet habits and can better cater to your individual interests with the hopes of a person participating in an election or helping with a political campaign.

        Bob Bennett said:
        February 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

        I strongly agree with Thomas’ point regarding Big Data’s implications for political campaigns and voter participation. The potential benefits that campaigns’ will gain in the future will allow candidates to better understand and satisfy their constituents while the average voter will hopefully have a greater degree of awareness and knowledge behind their decision due to the increased access to info. In this optimistic view Big Data could help refine and advance our election process and democratic system as a whole.

    Ness Billimoria said:
    February 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

    The Pew Institute’s article, the Ted Talk, and Davos World Economic Forum chat all talk about the serious benefits that Big Data will have on our world and whether we like it or not, will touch or lives in different fields. However, the reading and both videos talk about the challenges facing us as well.
    The WEF interviews conducted by Nick Clegg seemed to be the most interesting to me due to the fact that there was a debate amongst the panelists about the effect Big Data will have on us. The core issue facing us all, especially the consumer cloud is the issue of trust, or lack thereof. Average users of everything from Netflix to American Express e-banking to g-mail and so on all seem to be terrified of sharing their intimate, personal data with a company that is susceptible to cyber attacks. Nobody wants their data to be shared with unwanted parties, nor do they want their data being manipulated by these companies.
    Michael T. Fries, Chairman of Liberty Global pointed out the massive mistrust at the moment that companies are facing due to Sony’s recent issue, hacking, net neutrality, Snowden’s revelations,and so on. This hyper-connectivity seems brilliant. What’s more convenient than picking out a new pair of shoes on Amazon, and the site already knows my shoe size? However, the average consumer is scared of his/her data being sold to other parties that will bother them with irritating emails trying to sell their shoes to him/her.
    All the panelists agreed on one thing proposed by Gunther Oettinger, Commissioner, Digital Economy and Society of the European Commission. He said that the UN needs an agency for data protection. The idea itself isn’t radical, but there is a major issue with it- agreement between the member states. Europe itself is largely divided over the issue, with some states being more strict than others regarding this matter.
    Bid Data undoubtedly has the potential to make our lives a lot easier, however, if the trust factor can be ironed out, people will welcome it with open arms. There needs to be consent from the consumer if their data is being asked for, transparency with what the data is being used for and keep the users details as anonymous as possible.

      casega12 said:
      February 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      I agree that trust is a key factor if big data is to become a big part of our lives. As students and members of society we use the internet all the time and develop an online identity through social networks and online activity. This identity includes saved passwords, online accounts, etc and we need to be aware of our existence online in order to benefit from big data. If our information is protected and if we can subsequently trust the internet then big data could serve us constantly in convenience and accessibility to all things.

      Tim Lasusa said:
      February 3, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      I agree with Charlie and Ness in that trust is huge. If the government and private companies want to keep offering products that will make our lives easier while also making us feel as though our personal information is safe then we as a society will continue to use and want these products. However I feel as though as more people being to understand what exactly these companies are doing that trust become shakier and shakier and it wont take much for people to lose trust.

      Tim Lasusa said:
      February 3, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      I agree with you on these points, Ness. One social change that I think we will begin to see change is how news gets presented to us and how quickly stories are able to be developed through the use of big data. Right now on facebook and twitter and other social media sites millions of posts are being created every second. Some valuable and some not so much, but there are companies that are piling data and monitoring these feeds for real time alerts for major news breaks.

      In addition to this, companies have long since made use of our social media addiction in order to tailor real time news feeds and advertising alike. Every time I am on facebook and see ads that are featured on my account to align with what textbooks I have searched for on amazon, or what google search that I made to find sports results, I am reminded of a small way in which I am part of a system. Though we use social media to express individuality, social media uses us as consumers and products of their own larger system.

      Thomas Mathiasen said:
      February 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

      I think you raise a really interesting point, our fear of oversharing. Cyber threats and hacks present a real threat to the everyday consumer. While a company like Amazon may be able to quickly handle the threat, the consequences of a cyber breach are significantly felt on the consumer. Things like identity theft can often occur during an e-commerce transaction and I can understand why many people are hesitant to overshare personal or financial information with a company online. Its a tricky balance between efficiency and protection. The responsibility falls on both the consumer and the business to protect the interests of both parties.

    Tim Lasusa said:
    February 1, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    When reading and listening to the articles and the talk, it made me think about how our ability to understand how the world works is starting to be broken down into simple algorithms and numbers. I feel as though big data is scary but is really important to the future of our society and the well being of the planet. As described in the video, data can make certain technologies safer for the user as well as look to help eliminate crime and other dangerous activities, which in my opinion make for a healthier society. But as i’m sure people would agree, the issue becomes who controls how the data is collected and stored as well as who has access to this valuable information. Whats scary to common citizens I think is the lack of knowledge as to what private companies and governments are doing with the data currently. We as a society don’t have much control over what types of data is being collected, unless we of course are collecting the data ourselves. If we as citizens can find a way to understand what exactly is being collected and make that known to people I think it will make the idea of bid data less frightening for people.

    Emilio Nilooban said:
    February 1, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    There is also another problem to consider as big data expands. Even though the increase of big data can enable us to innovate, perform more effectively and make the overall standard of living more convenient in society, one has to consider the a negative impact big data can have concerning the supply of jobs in countries. The threat that big data poses is its potential to replace humans with machines, a phenomenon that is slowly becoming evident as new technologies are being introduced. In contrasting the difference between humans and machines, Patrick Tucker states that “what differs between these systems, between humans predictors and machine predictors, is the sensing tools. Humans are limited to two eyes, two ears, and a network of nerve endings. Computers can sense via a much wider menagerie of data collection tools.”

    The question that I’d like to throw out there is whether you guys think big data will end up creating more jobs then eliminating them or vice versa?

    Personally, big data has managed to create jobs that introduced new professions that revolve around the study of computer sciences and have made other jobs more accessible via the world wide web. For instance, teachers and tutors can now interact with their students online and do so within the comfort of their own homes. That said, as big data continues to grow, its effect in replacing manual labor jobs become more apparent. A perfect example of this can be the introduction of new machines in a factory that could speed up production and avoid human error.

      Jake Levin said:
      February 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      One area I have definitely started to notice the presence of Big Data has been the service industry. Jobs that seemingly anyone can learn to do – be it a cashier at a fast food restaurant or a parking lot attendant – have started to become replaced by computers for their efficiency. You also don’t have to pay a piece of technology an hourly wage for it to do its job. Answering your question concerning whether big data will end up creating more jobs rather then eliminating them, I believe that in the long run it will have a negative impact on the job market. Yes I feel the rapidly expanding capabilities of data systems will create thousands of new jobs. However the bulk of these positions will be filled by young professionals who go to university with the intention of working in the tech industry. The ones who are working the manual labor and service related jobs will have trouble adapting to this new economy when a computer becomes the most desired form of labor in their industry, and therefore will have trouble finding a job in another area they aren’t familiar with.

    Andrew Reiley said:
    February 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Big data really is terrifying yet at the same time, aspects of our lives will be much easier than those of generations before us. In the TED talk, I found it interesting about how machines are able to learn when left alone to play and replay the simulations. However, it is also strange knowing that data about everyone on the planet who is connected is stored somewhere out there. I also thought it was interesting how the collection of data and the way that it updates can create jobs yet also destroy jobs and professions all together. We need to be aware of the power of big data and how to use it safely as society becomes more and more connected. It is nice to have, but people should also make sure to spend time away from devices and get off the grid.

      casega12 said:
      February 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      I agree about the fear of losing jobs to big data. It seems like every start up company now is designed to maximize accessibility and convenience. More and more people are buying things directly from big companies with the help of customized shopping suggestions. One could argue that the future of sales could one day be lost to big data. Someday surely the charisma of salesmanship will fall behind the accessibility and convenience that big data can bring to all aspects of our life.

        Henry Preston said:
        February 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        I agree that the growing power of big data can lead to increased ease of life, but at the same time, I think that there are some aspects of life that should remain solely in the hands of flesh and blood human beings. Granted, our generation grew up playing outside with our friends, and our only electronics when we were younger were game boys and we still had to meet up with our friends to interact, so im sure this next generation will have completely different ideas on this issues.That said, there are many benefits to being able to utilize big data within small companies, with the main barrier to entry being the personal skills to access information on the internet and understand technology.

        Patrick Sullivan said:
        February 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        I understand both Charlie and Andrew’s notions on Big Data’s destruction of jobs that are present today, yet I also believe in the organic nature of the job market that will open new opportunities for new jobs. The large majority of high schoolers gradating this year will work for companies that have yet to be created or in jobs that do not yet exist. The human insight will not be overrun by data or technology because the data that is being created is assisting us, not replacing us. Sure the job market landscape may be unrecognizable in ten years for us, but that is the exciting power of Big Data. This will also bring with it new business ventures and opportunities that will be built upon to further advance society.

        Robins Chery said:
        February 4, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        I absolutely agree with everyone on this thread. And in reference to comment above me. I think from a coporation standpoint; you have no choice. You need to mitigate costs and some level or another, because the evolution of big data, is not something that can simply be ignored. it has to be at the forfront of things to ascertain by company executives simply because of how entrenched of a domain the use of cyberspace has become. It seems, that the consensus is that “the future of sales could one day be lost to big data” However, companies are viewing it as we’ll lose the battle in order to win the war.

      Andrew Weimer said:
      February 4, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Andrew, I think you made a really good point when you said “we need to be aware of the power of big data and how to use it safely”. I think the safest way to approach it with caution so to keep society aware of it’s dangers. I also agree that people should find a way to make time to get away from technology and enjoy the outdoors. Although, I am afraid that with this massive wave of technology, in a few years from now technology will be so prevalent that it will be so difficult to get away. Even now with FitBits, Bluetooth Headphones, and all the social media apps on your phone used to share pictures. They are so ingrained in our everyday life and how we function, I worry it will only get worse.

      Moustafa Bayoumy said:
      February 4, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      I agree that the idea of Big Data can be intimidating and overwhelming when you think about how much personal information about you is out there without your awareness. Like all forms of power, taking precautions when using Big Data is imperative. For example, knowing someone’s location could come in handy if he/she ever goes missing. However, if this knowledge falls into the wrong hands, such as that of a stalker for example, it becomes a threat to people. Something I always notice when I’m browsing through Amazon is that I begin to see advertisements of my recent browse history on other tabs, such as Facebook, Pandora Radio, even CNN. This makes me wonder how much more of our information such companies are sharing to target us as consumers.

    Dylan Kirby said:
    February 1, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Together the TedTalk video and the report from the Pew Research Center on big data provided me with a newfound interest on the topic. While aggregating mass amounts of data has the potential to increase efficiency across multiple sectors of our modern society there are however a few drawbacks which gets me wondering if big data will be the next big mistake. In my own life, I am interconnected with the cloud. From credit cards to passwords all my information is out there (reluctantly) and I can confidently say I am not alone. That is why I believe one of the biggest concerns regarding big data is how and where the data would be stored in a safe manner. In addition to where the data should be stored, an interesting question I have for the forum is who should be responsible for the investment and maintenance to keep the data collection centers operating. While our society starts to embrace using big data, it is exciting to think about the potential job opportunities that will focus on adding structure to the “unstructured” and “sloppy” data to ultimately come up with a hypothesis in the end.

      casega12 said:
      February 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Dylan, I think your question of data storage and maintenance is a good one. This brings us back to internet governance and the reality that companies often have as much if not more power than anyone else on the internet. Their ability to collect data is what keeps their service going and allows our online identity to grow and develop. Big data is ambiguous and so is its storage but regulation is important indeed especially with so much personal info like bank accounts and passwords.

        Jake Levin said:
        February 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

        A major thing I have seen among many iPhone applications to ensure the consumer that our data is being protected are the privacy agreements you have to agree or disagree with the first time you open the app on your phone. Having the option to choose whether you want aspects of your technological profile shared with third party sources definitely makes you feel more secure, especially if these companies are required to safeguard your data by law if you choose that option. In general, I feel that powerhouse companies like Facebook should be more open about what is being done with our data, along with certain actions to take if we don’t like what is being done with our personal information

        Patrick Sullivan said:
        February 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm

        Dylan, I also believe that these “new jobs” you mention will focus on the transparency of big data storage, analysis, and usage. People in this country are obsessed with knowing what exactly is going on behind the curtain. Whether it be the internet or the TMZ versions of different celebrity’s lives. People want to know more and more about what they see. It seems obvious that the White house would create a special division, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), tasked to work on this exact dilemma. As technology continues to advance at an increasingly scary rate, it is important that the Government be at the forefront of these changes. The anarchy that the internets and its data provides can lead to dangerous scenarios that lead to privacy issues.

        Dylan Kirby said:
        February 3, 2016 at 11:29 pm

        Charlie, great point. Remember this summer when Ashley Madison accounts were leaked and users log in accounts were exposed. While I doubt Ashley Madison has the same level of cyber security as say Bank of America, this brings up another question, should there be a standardized set level of security to big data or should it be that the capital rich companies provide the best protection, while say ashley madison is left vulnerable?

      Andrew Weimer said:
      February 4, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      I agree with Dylan and share similar concerns with the rate at which Big Data is growing, as I am interconnected with the cloud as well. I was intrigued by the videos and articles and thought they brought up many important issues with Big Data. I also have my bank accounts and personal information stored on my phone in the cloud. Not only do they have our personal information out there Dylan, but in the video Cukier talks about things like the FitBit which stores data about our heart rate, sleeping patterns, and other biological conditions. Also, these things, along with phones and other electronic items have gps navigation chips which show where we are at all times. I agree it will help improve many sectors of society but also think humans will be sacrificing their privacy and personal freedom.

      Andrew Weimer said:
      February 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      After reading the Pew article and watching the Ted Talk I would say that I agree with the second argument that Big Data can cause more problems than it solves between now and 2020. That being said, I do believe that humans will be able to figure out the most ideal balance of Big Data intervention. The used the example of the industrial revolution a lot to highlight the way the machinery took away the jobs of thousands. Well, we can also say that humans especially in the case of the industrial revolution figured out a safe and efficient way to balance machinery and human labor. I believe that humans will do the same with technology when it becomes more of a serious issue. It is already becoming an issue and people are already working to fix these issues but it takes time for people to to learn from their mistakes and work out the kinks. So, I do think that Big Data will cause more problems than solve them in the next few years because Big Data is so dangerous and while we are figuring out what capabilities it has such as Machine Learning, we don’t know the extent of the possibilities it has.

    Will Kauppila said:
    February 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    There is seemingly endless possibility for the many public goods that “Big Data” can provide and this potential can certainly revolutionize many aspects and institutions of global governance in general, but I was also fascinating by the video and reports’ caution towards its increasingly efficient (and shockingly to me) rapid complex advancing algorithms. Mr. Cukier likens Big Data to almost becoming close to self-autonomous, and warns that we must be able to more fully able master and understand it before it proliferates too fast and/or spins out of control. Of course huge corporations like Walmart will seek to get all they can out of Big Data in order to maximize economic profit and logistic efficiency, but there is also a lot at risk. I liked Mr. Cukier’s analogy that we are moving from an era where data was once a stock, to an existence that where it is fluid and dynamic. I think that concerns over privacy and intellectual property are particularly unique and important to address going forward, as we have never before lived in a time where information (of any scope or importance) is so easily and quickly transferable.

    casega12 said:
    February 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I find the notion of big data and what it means for our society very interesting and very exciting. In my quantitative methods class this morning I was searching through the General Social Survey, the largest source of sociological data surrounding contemporary American society. Sources like these are valuable and important when we want to analyze society ourselves, but the nature of the information is not as ‘fluid’ as the big data referred to in the Ted talk. Collected data found in the GSS is usually gathered through surveys while ‘big data’ is an intangible combination of how one exists within society’s online and real places. When you juxtapose the information traditionally gathered through surveys with the ideas of ‘big data’ discussed in the video it is evident that our society is moving towards a wealth of information that is adaptive and customizable in its nature. The way big data adapts and absorbs information of all kinds is noticeable in the services provided by companies like amazon and google which create a customized experience for each user. Big data is also an important factor in the conversation about internet governance. So much of our lives exist online that the ‘who?’ and ‘where?’ regarding the storage of our important information is extremely important. The fears of internet governance becoming a detriment to our freedom in online spaces are validated when you think that all of your personal online activity could be used in reverse to moderate or control what you can do.

      Tim Lasusa said:
      February 3, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      There is one company that I have heard of recently that applies to the fast-changing landscape of our internet habits in particular. The company is called Dataminr, which uses a partnership with twitter and other social media to try and get major news stories faster than anyone. If a bomb goes off somewhere and people tweet about it they want to claim to be the first to know. The goal of the company is to be a leader by being ahead of the curve for any developments that would be key for public safety, banking, and news organizations. The difficult question is, one of these issues will be the most important depending on who invests in and who controls this company– would it be fair for finance to have priority over global safety? As the articles and many of my peers have noted, who controls big data is the most important factor in how it affects us daily.

      Cory Latour said:
      February 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm


      I think you are asking the right questions about internet governance, and the important of the protection of our data. I too have gone through the General Social Survey, and the information it collects is astounding. The exciting thing is what innovative and new ideas can be put to use with this new information? Security certainly is the priority as we move forward. For example, worst case scenario thinking: could our nuclear arsenal be hacked? Or any of our weapons systems for that matter? It is scary to think about. I recently read an article about air-gap computers, which are essentially computers that have never been connected to a network before. Therefore, they are extremely secure, as they have never made a network trace. This is an interesting idea to store our most sensitive information. Do you agree that a nation should store it’s most sensitive information on a type of system like this?

    Henry Preston said:
    February 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    The Pew article on big data addressed the issue of privacy, especially the issue of people’s data being collected without their knowledge and used in ways that they cannot predict at the time that their information is being collected. For example, information that is posted on social media is generally understood to be public, but amazon and other online purchases also create personal information that is collected. This means that the wealth of information that people generate goes far beyond what they think they generate.
    One issue of this is that this plethora of information could be collated by third parties with negative intentions, be it foreign governments collecting information on military and political officials, or governments collecting information on citizens. Both of these situations encroach on individuals’ privacy. Another view on this is that by using the internet, people give up some of their rights to privacy.
    Although information collection has been going on for years, it took Snowden for everyday people to have solid proof of it. Granted, there were indications that information was being shared across websites, as advertisements became tailored to personal preferences based on the other sites visited, products examined, and online purchase history.
    Overall, big data is important in that its uses are uncountable, and there are many beneficial uses for this big data. The worrying aspect is that once this information is put out into the internet, it is completely out of the individual’s hands and can be used by whoever or whatever finds it.

      cscott66 said:
      February 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Henry i agree with what you are saying. Big Data can cause major privacy issues especially with data being collected on people every single day. In the Ted talk, the speaker was saying how police officers will be able to use big data to stop crimes before they happen. By using data from a fit bit they would be able to tell if the person has been going through angry periods and then using data from theperson’s background like if they have been arrested before, educational background, etc. make an arrest based on data. This is a little scary when data can be used for things like this, but it can also be seen as a big breakthrough in policiing if used correctly.

    Will Kauppila said:
    February 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Something that struck me from the future of the internet article was the positivity about Big Data from scholars like Jeff Jarvis, Sean Mead, David Weinberger, and Bryan Trogdon who even went so far as to call “Big Data the new oil.” Their optimism for the Internet of Things, and the new possibilities that come along with it of everday items which were once out of touch or across the world now being instantaneously connected really came through. While I agree with their enthusiasm for the benefits of this massive force for change, I think that they are overlooking the need for the simultaneous establishment of a governing body that can regulate its serious issues of transparency, security, and rate of growth (which in my opinion is the most important). For me this report demonstrated the massive power and potential that Big Data has, but also that it might becoming something we ourselves cannot fully control and is changing the way we live our lives in a way never seen before.

    Patrick Sullivan said:
    February 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Both the Pew article and the Ted Talk I found were extremely insightful and thought provoking. I made several connections to both the video and article but will focus on the Pew Research Center article here. As many have stated here, there is a very real concern with the transparency that Big Data inherently brings with it. There are obvious benefits that follow but as we are in a Democratic society, privacy will always be a main concern for the everyday American citizen. What is undeniable, however, is just how lucrative Big Data usage, analysis, and storage can be. The Healthcare industry is highlighted as a main sector that can benefit from advancements in technology. “…we estimate that the potential value from data in the sector could be more than $300 billion in value every year…”. Over the last five years healthcare has proved to be one of the best performing sectors in the US as numerous Private Equity firms have invested massive amounts of capital into the industry. No longer do you go to the doctor’s office and see aisles upon aisles of patient files behind the receptionist’s desk. No we experience a secretary sitting in front of a computer with every patient’s file at his or her fingertips. Scary only if you believe these files to be more accessible than before. Whether or not this is true, we will have to wait and see. Another example, would be online search platforms for doctor’s around you based off your proximity to them, their cost, or their rating based off other customer experiences. These types of improvements in efficiency will continue to take place, with Healthcare at the forefront.

      Cory Latour said:
      February 4, 2016 at 11:55 am


      I too agree with you about the exciting possibilities Big Data has for the Healthcare industry as a whole. I also worry about how secure our medical files really are at a doctor’s office, hopsital, etc. For example, if someone had information of your healthcare records, then they in some sense have a sort of power over you. I think the protection of doctor/patient confidentiality is a crucial piece of this equation as Big Data advances, because is a person’s health is his or her own, and nobody else’s. I look forward to talking with you more about this sector, as the capital we are investing in healthcare right now is truly outstanding.

        Jonathan Bucknall said:
        February 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        Pat and Cory,
        I tend to agree with both of you regarding Big Data and Healthcare. Advancements in technology can help the healthcare industry tremendously but as Cory pointed out, if someone has access to your healthcare record they know personal and sensitive information about you which can be terrifying. Today, a good enough hacker could possibly access tons of personal information about an individual, not just their healthcare records but almost everything about them so Big Data can both be good and terrifying at the same time!

        Dylan Kirby said:
        February 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

        Cory, I really enjoyed reading your response. Earlier in the forum, Dr. Vidanage posed the question about a data divine society. And in relation to your response, it is interesting to think about those with poor healthcare and looking towards the future I see monumental debates about equality and keeping the data poor citizens not as the mercy of hackers.

      Sam McGowan said:
      February 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Pat, I found your comment quite interesting, especially what you had to say regarding the health care industry and how its evolved in terms of patient data storage and even analysis. My mom, who recently went back into the medical industry as a nurse, has been telling me about how different the whole industry has gotten since she first started working in this field, probably back in the early 80s. Your description of how files are stored nowadays is spot on, and a perfect testament as to how far big data and IT has come in a relatively short time frame. A couple days before my mom started working at the office she’s at now, she mentioned how she was pretty nervous about the technology that she would be working with. I’ve asked her about it now, and she has said that its a lot easier to navigate patient files, databases etc. than she initially expected. This point relates to the “democratization” as the McKinsey article points out. I’d consider nurses and other desk workers at a medical office who use the data bases to be “front-line users,” and from what my mom has told me, very few problems have come up in terms of navigating these highly technical data bases, even for someone like my mom who has been out of the workforce for 30 years or so and someone I’d consider “technically challenged.” This “democratization” has expanded the user base and has allowed more everyday and less technical savvy individuals to use data bases to their advantage instead of just “statistical gurus” being able to use these systems.

      – Sam

    Moustafa Bayoumy said:
    February 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    After reading and listening to the ted talk, I recognized how big data is a big word and how important it is in our life. All our personal information are turned into codes and numbers which is impressive, but on the other hand, big data is dangerous because of one thing, who controls the big data? who is in charge of protecting our online information?
    The people doesn’t understand how is the big data effect us in a bad way, many people love shopping going online and buying stuff on amazon or ebay, and put their personal information like name, address, and credit card number. As Kenneth Cukier mentioned in the talk how is the big data is dangerous because of these big companies who should be responsible to protect all the information that they have online, and should be prepared for any wrong or hacking stuff.

      Andrew Reiley said:
      February 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      I agree with you that many people do not understand how big data can hurt us. Pretty much all of your information is now out there, and to the savvy hacker, can all be shared with the general public. For example, the Ashley Madison hack released a ton of personal information of people all over the globe, probably destroying some marriages. Without the implement of the internet and big data, that would never have happened, but the hackers knew that they could get their point across if they unleashed their wrath on the unfortunate souls who had been using that site.

        Thomas Mathiasen said:
        February 4, 2016 at 11:09 am

        Using Ashley Madison is a good example for another implication of Big Data. Often, I think people can confuse cyber attacks with financial information only, but the truth is that it can also expose other hurtful and harmful information about someone, in this case extramarital affairs. I think we have a tendency to overshare information and it is important to create a healthy balance of information that we wouldn’t mind being released about us (for example favorite sports teams or places we vacationed last summer) vs. information that could be potentially damaging to a person’s reputation (for example the Ashley Madison example).

      Sam McGowan said:
      February 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Moustafa, I also thought long and hard about who is actually controlling big data. In addition, I thought about their intentions, and how much they really care about user confidentiality. Would they give up personal information if it means reaping some large monetary returns?

      Your comment about online shopping got me thinking about “Adsense” and what the Pew Report had to say on this matter. Recently, I was looking online for a ski jacket, and was pretty interested in buying this jacket from Orage, a fairly large ski outerwear company. I really liked the jacket, the only problem was it was very expensive for my budget, around $300 and the size I wanted was out of stock. I thought about buying it, and probably visited Orage’s website and other outwear distributers’ websites roughly 3-4 times in a span of a couple days. I ended up not buying that jacket, and went with a different company’s jacket that was much less expensive, and one I liked better. The next week after logging into Facebook, I saw an add from with the same exact jacket I was looking at prior. This was the first time in my recollection where a product I searched for then came up on my Facebook feed. Pretty scary in a way that this type of consumer searching and specific add placement is done on the nearly 1.5 billion or so Facebook users out there.

      – Sam

    Jake Levin said:
    February 2, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    A major aspect of Big Data that stood out to me from the report was how the motives of corporations are at the forefront of the expanding industry. Manipulating us to buy goods and services have certainly limited the amount of praise directed toward the capabilities of Big Data. It seems that the pursuit for our money has driven the immense growth of data aggregation, and resulted in the false presentation of information. Although I believe this self-serving agenda is negative for society, at the same time it can improve our lives in a variety of ways. Using this type of unwarranted surveillance for medical and economic reasons, such as analyzing someones risk for an insurance policy, has the ability to be very efficient. Hopefully in the future we are able to recognize when we are in fact being manipulated for our money, and more good intentioned firms utilize big data to improve our quality of life.

      Emilio Nilooban said:
      February 3, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      To add on to your point Jake, the way we amass big data has also changed the way companies present their goods and services to its customers. For instance, Google takes record of everything you search, watch and buy in order to provide you with advertisements in the future that specifically cater to your interests. Personally, whenever I go through my Facebook page, there are advertisements that were either of products that I recently bought or browsed on Google or Amazon. It’s scary to comprehend the amount of big data private companies can store and how they’re able to manipulate that data in order to steer advertisements towards specific target groups.

        Andrew Reiley said:
        February 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

        Emilio, I agree that it is scary how they can track every search you have entered. You would think that on your own personal devices that you would be safe from that exact thing from happening. It really goes to show that even when you are operating on a personal device, someone out there is always watching. Another interesting thing is how people can hack into the camera device on your personal computer or phone, which enables them to be able to watch you when you are unaware. To me that is terrifying. In that sense, you can never be too sure if you’re actually alone or not.

      Michael LeFevre said:
      February 4, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      I too am weary about the agenda and “goal” driving these corporations and private groups behind Big Data. Are these companies REALLY trying to help improve and enhance the consumers experience, or are they ultimately seeking the route which will enable them to create the most revenue? I believe the idea behind the insurance policy could be helpful, but at what point do we stop trying to “perfect” our lives, and just let them play out? Where does the micro-managing stop, and we continue our lives as human-beings and not a set of information and data.

      I agree that while some of the information that Big Data has provided us with, will be crucial and important to our advancements in society; but I am very skeptical about at what point is enough, enough?

        Robins Chery said:
        February 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

        Mike, I think you bring up a very interesting position. I find that if we take a step back and look at things objectively, or as economists like to say a “rational” standpoint; we find that the agenda of the big corporations won’t change; maximize profit. These companies aren’t really looking to enhance and improve the consumers experience because then that falls upon a moral obligation to the company, and moral obligation does not increase marginal revenue. And we know that marginal revenue must ALWAYS exceed marginal costs. I maybe coming off as pessimistic, but as long as there is something to gain, you won’t be seeing an allievation of “micro-management” anytime soon. However, on another note, i firmly believe that while this may a huge undertaking, the evolution of big data, not just on a domestic front but also on an international front is extremely paramount in the advancement of successful contries as well as the continued establishing of underdeveloped countries. .

    Thomas Mathiasen said:
    February 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Big data, whether we like it or not, is becoming an integral part of our lives. We live in such an advanced age of technology where are cars, phones, televisions and even household appliances are operated and controlled by technology. This means that we as consumers, share a tremendous amount of information with the companies we decide to purchase a product from. I think the Big Data Ted Talk highlights a very important point, corporations are leading the charge in this new technology era. To be clear, I think it is incredibly important for us to continue to innovate and create new technology that makes our lives easier and more efficient, but I also think it is important for us to remain cautious of Big Data. Big Data is not yet perfect and like all innovations, will go through periods in which there are flaws presented. The burden to make sure that those flaws are corrected falls on both the corporations involved with the innovations and the consumer. As a consumer, we put our trust into a company when we enter in our financial information or spending habits, but as a company it is important to maintain that trust with the consumer. Should a company fail to maintain that trust and keep the data we share with them safe, we as consumers must give our business to a competitor. In the era of Big Data, it is clear that all companies can provide superior e-commerce abilities. The difference comes in the ways in which companies keep our information safe. Many people have cited a fear of Big Data and yes, it is a scary thing, but as are most changes. We are constantly evolving and Big Data is our next social evolution. Its exciting and provides tremendous new opportunities for our future.

    Cory Latour said:
    February 4, 2016 at 11:37 am

    The arguments for and against big data that arise from the reading and TED talk truly polarize me; I am on the fence about what the future of Big Data holds. If I were to pick one side of the argument, I guess I would support this advancing industry, as it is inevitable. The benefits of Big Data (Healthcare, better consumer experience, new jobs, etc.) outweigh the risks and security of having so much information out there. Big Data needs to be used responsibly in the future, which correlates back to our discussion in class about the entities that should be responsible. Cyber security certainly is a concern when looking at technology advancing, as we are finding new ways to continuously compress and seamlessly navigate our data. Moore’s Law states that our processing power doubles every year, so it seems impossible to imagine a future without screens, connectivity, and technology surrounding us. This notion in its own may be scary to some, but we must utilize the advancement of Big Data responsibly and correctly. For example, I think technology is an invaluable tool for advancing the education and life of a child, but other concepts (maintaining a healthy diet, playing on a sports team, staying away from drugs) are equally important concepts that affect the healthiness and personal growth of the same child. The thought of Big Data in the future truly excites me, as the opportunities to use it for good outweigh the risks of its abuse. My main concern is that as Big Data advances, we as humans will become too engulfed by technology.

      Sam McGowan said:
      February 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Cory, I also share the same fear that we as a society will become way to engulfed by technology. We as a generation are already arguably too much attached to our computers and other personal devices. Although it certainly makes life a lot easier for most, it has the potential to make humans less personal. With this in mind, I fear that maybe not our generation in particular, but future generations such as our children, will loose interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate face to face with others.

      On a side note, what were doing today in terms of this class, whether it be talking with each other via an online forum such as this one, or holding a video chat with Professor Vidanage, is certainly not the same as talking face to face in a more traditional classroom setting. I’m not saying either is more as effective or productive as the other necessarily, but the two are certainly very different. Whether or not we will see huge implications because of this later on in life will be quite interesting.

    Sam McGowan said:
    February 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    How’s it going everybody

    I found the video on Big Data to be incredibly interesting. I thought Kenneth Cukier was very informed about the subject, and his argument was straight to the point.

    Whether we like it or not, Big Data, as we have already witnessed, will be how our society will advance. Our generation knows this better than any other. However, as Kenneth argues in his lecture, how we use Big Data will determine its effectiveness. How we use Big Data will determine peoples’ perception on it. I also thought that some of Kenneth’s points were a little bit alarming in some ways. The fact that new cars nowadays can acquire extremely detailed information about its driver(s) is very innovative. My older sister recently just purchased a 2012 Volvo and its features are exactly what Kenneth was talking about. Volvo is a company that strives itself on safety, and I believe recently put out a goal to be set by 2020 to not have a single death from people using its vehicles. Although this seems like a pretty crazy goal to set by a car company, I can’t imagine what is in store for the future, and for future Volvo cars. As safe and user friendly as these new features might sound, much like Trent’s dad, my dad also has had some frustrating experiences using these new innovative cars. When my sister bought her car this past Fall, my dad and I drove it back from Annapolis, Maryland all the way to Massachusetts. We both took turns driving, and when my dad drove it, within 45 minutes of him starting to drive, the car’s dashboard interactive screen alerted him with a “coffee cup symbol” and told him to pull over and take a rest and have a cup of coffee. Although this alert feature is supposed to go off when the driver appears to be swerving or driving erratically, I can attest that my dad was not driving unsafe. Once the alert went off, about an hour later, the same message went off again. As safe and effective as these new features seem to be, I do believe they can be ineffective in some scenarios.

    I also found Kenneth’s comments about privacy in the age of “small data” to be very interesting. Now, in the age of Big Data according to Kenneth, the central problem is “safeguarding free will and moral choice.” Some police agencies are using Big Data and data collecting apps to hold potential criminals accountable “before they have even acted.” I wonder whether or not this has been effective in catching people who were actually planning a criminal activity or whether they have unjustly arrested people who were otherwise not doing anything illegal.

    As a closing point, I think the most important point Kenneth made was this statement: “We have to become masters of technology, not its servants.” This is crucial to do because if we let Big Data overpower ourselves people will become less trustworthy of data, and more importantly, we will become much less confident in Big Data’s reliability and its effectiveness.

    – Sam McGowan

      Sam McGowan said:
      February 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Before I posted this, I didn’t see the Pew Report link, or the directions telling us to choose which of the two arguments you most agree with.

      After reading the Pew Report, and from what I gathered watching Kenneth’s video, and from what I got out of the other article, I believe Big Data will have the effect of both improving some aspects of our lives as well as creating pretty significant problems in some areas of society. As a society, I do believe we will have greatly improved Big Data in terms of how we structure it by 2020. This will of course lead to some improvements mainly in the political and economic spheres. Like a lot of the professionals questioned in the Pew Report I do believe that 4 years from now much work will still be needed for us to really get the most out of Big data. Since we will surely have more data included into Big Data, a part of me thinks it will still be somewhat “unstructured” and “sloppily organized.” On the social side of things, I think that Big Data will help us out in many areas but at the same time I think it will cause numerous problems, much like the problems my dad faced when he was being alerted to drink a coffee by my sister’s car. With all of this being said, whether or not either of these arguments end up coming to light will depend on how we use big data and the extent to which we rely on big data and what it tells us when it comes to making choices, big or small.

      Computer aided predictions might seem like a good idea at first glance, but what if they computers are actually wrong because of poor programming or something of that nature? There will be huge implications if we rely too much on big data and what it tells us, especially when a computer predicts a major storm or earthquake to take place, and it doesn’t actually happen. One of the things that a computer will never have is the ability to be humane and feel for others. This comes into play when very powerful corporate heads choose to make decisions that affect everyone based off what a computer is telling them. If the computer says to do something that will increase profits because thats what its programed to do, even though its completely unethical and immoral, what will the CEO decide to do? Essentially, how we use big data and the degree of trust we place in computers and big data’s ability to make decisions will set the tone for big data’s mass perception and how successful or unsuccessful it will be in the future.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        February 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

        Sam, has a point here he is talking more about the ability of Big Data to be manipulated by machines, that is already happening through AI and machine learning, we will have a moment in the course to discuss the impact of AI and some of you already mentioned this in your comments too referring to self-driving cars etc.

    Jonathan Bucknall said:
    February 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I am going to have to agree with Trent’s original post, that I found both the TED talk and the article to be interesting and a little scary. Even though some of the ideas that Trent brought up like, cars that can wake you up when you start to nod off, or to have cars not run at all because the sensors in the seat of the car don’t match your back, seem like a good there are a lot of problems that can occur. There was a case in the end of the summer with Jeep, I believe, that someone hacked into 500,000 computer chips that were in certain jeep models and the hacker could control the steering wheel. So even though technology could possible help protect drivers and make roads safer for everyone it also has potential to making the danger much harder to see/detect.

      Cory Latour said:
      February 4, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      I can see where you are coming from Jon. I remember reading that article this summer, and I found it incredible that hackers could now break in to cars. Hackers have shown us time and time again that they will hack whatever they can get their hands on. I remember reading that hacking culture is highly ego-based, so proving the ability to hack in to a car would be a huge reputation boost. Following this code, who is to say a hacker will not hack you…or Amazon where you have all of your data stored…or you get the point. Your information is at risk because there are individuals out there with elite skills, who will hack into any mainframe or server they can in order to boost their hacking credentials. This system of outlaws makes it important for discourses like this forum to exist, as we need to forge into the future securely.

        Bob Bennett said:
        February 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm

        Jon and Cory I can’t say how much I agree with you guys on this matter of security. Going back to your earlier post about technology advancing education Cory, it’s imperative that we have a secure cyber space going into the future if we’re going to introduce it to children at earlier and earlier ages. I’m not necessarily saying we’re exposing children to the dangers of hackers by having technology in classrooms, but the ever increasing space that the internet, Big Data, and technology have opened needs to be secure .

      Henry Preston said:
      February 4, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      I agree that technology has advanced to the point where it is scary sometimes, but at the same time, just having the ability to facetime on iphones is mind-blowing for some of our parent’s generation. So the fact that new technological abilities are scaring us is almost to be expected. Our children’s generation will probably be unable to live a day without their tech

    Colin Scott said:
    February 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Coming from someone who had never really thought about big data before, the reading and Ted talk were very surprising to me. Its crazy that big data could be eventually used for policing and arresting someone before they even commit the crime based on the data of the person; where they went to school, fitbit data used for aggression, etc. The fact that this is a possibility is a little scary because it can start creating a world wuth very little privacy because data will be constantly collected on individuals based on every day living. A second thing that was surprising was the statment that big data can create machine learning which in turn can lead technology to over take white collar jobs now. Just like machines have taken jobs from blue collar workers, technology can start to learn white collar jobs and take more jobs away from humans. Big data is fascintating because of all the possibilities there are for technology but it is also very scary because these possibilites take alot away from being a normal human. Self drving cars and computer programs that take away from jobs seem to be things that should be regulated especially with the issue of possible privacy issues being violated.

    Bob Bennett said:
    February 4, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    As many other classmates have voiced, I found the PEW article and TED video both optimistic and alarming. I think it’s amazing for us as a species to be able to see how far we’ve come regarding technology and the internet. One point from the video that I was most torn about was Big Data’s variability. Applying Big Data to location such as GPS is something I feel everyone’s generally aware of but when Cukier highlighted the example of Tokyo applying Big Data to driver seats in cars I was startled. As a strategy for preventing car theft, it’s obviously a brilliant idea but it also got me thinking of the other possibilities for Big Data. What other aspects of our society can we apply Big Data to? Maybe a better question would be, what are the things we can’t we apply Big Data to? In this cyber era, with some of the largest industries in the U.S. being technology and digital information, the possibilities for Big Data are seemingly endless. But it’s also because of our large tech and info sectors that Big Data needs to be approached cautiously due to it’s potential to replace those valuable jobs. Although I definitely agree with Pat’s earlier comment about the organic job market, I also believe that with every new innovative era some human jobs are permanently lost. In this sense I would describe Big Data and it’s respective possibilities as a double edged sword.

    Andrew Weimer said:
    February 4, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Because I have been somewhat bashing the expansion of Big Data I thought I would do a post about how I think it can help our society and standard of living. I believe that in the right hands, Big Data can help the human race enormously by simplifying our day to day lives and creating protection from our most common problems. A few people have already talked about the changes it can make to the safety of automobiles. The neat feature the Ted Talk touched on where the sensors in the carseats will detect if someone steals your car or when you doze off while driving. These are the types of changes I would like to see made. Other examples that relates to our present day life are things like finger print recognition and voice recognition, are really important for our security. I have a Bank of America app on my phone (which already requires a passcode or fingerprint to get in) that uses the option of a fingerprint to sign in.

      Henry Preston said:
      February 4, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Andrew, I agree that ease of use has increased through the prorogation and advancement of technology accessible to everyday civilians. Now you don’t even have to go to the bank to deposit a check, just take a picture of it on your phone and its done. Cant really beat that. On the flip side, concerns over who is actually using Big Data, and whether they are using it to help society or to better themselves are concrete, and must be taken into account, especially as identity fraud has skyrocketed.

    Robins Chery said:
    February 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Naturally, we start off with the question of what exactly is big data, and according to Kenneth Cukier “Big Data” refers to the enormous amounts of data that can be mined for information using patterns and correlations and is an extremely important tool that will only help to advance society. One of the key points that stood out early to me in Cukier’s talk, is the way in which he ascertained how big data has necessarily evolved from what it was 4,000 years ago, when we were encoding/storing information over time through the use of storing images/words on clay discs. I can’t help but agree on his premise of the ever increasing progress and dependency big data is leaving on all of its consumers whether it be a social impact such as cultural trends, economic impact such as the governments means to spend protect the leaking of information, (Snowden) or even a global impact such as the fear of foreign coercion, or even invasion (cyber-terrorism). The means of copying big data, sharing, big data, & processing big data has never before worked on such an efficacious level. Cukier describes the process of big data going from a “stock” to a “flow” & that there is now a liquidity to the flow of information.

    Robins Chery said:
    February 4, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    In my opinion, Cukier beautifully referred to liquidity, showing us that data is flowing and being processed at astonishing speeds, this interconnected framework of frameworks; so to speak, is unparalleled, and quite frankly scary (as many of my peers have stated) I view this as scary for three reasons: the dependency consumers have on data/technology, the speeds at which information can reach any party participating in this interdependent framework of works, and finally, the increased means of foreign threat upon state sovereignty. Politically, and even socially, it’s no secret that whatever ‘state’ commands the least amount of resources will be the ones least able to utilize the full capabilities/breadth that big data is now prescribing. Big Data increasingly affects politics in manifold ways. With the rapid emergence of cyberspace as an important domain of daily activity; international politics, right under our very noses has already undergone a massive technologically-driven change. With the ever increasing expediency of Big Data, from how it’s shared, stored, and process has already unveiled new dimensions to these drastic changes that political scientists and academics are just now beginning to comprehend.

    Henry Preston said:
    February 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Although there are many negative connotations associated with Big Data, sometimes rightly so, there are also many benefits to collecting and applying this information in ways that can improve human life. The TED talk discusses the use of sensors in car seats to determine the probability of certain postures correlating to car accidents. This information could be used to warn drivers to wake up so that they wouldn’t get in an accident, thus improving the quality of human life thru the prevention of some traffic fatalities.
    This viewpoint on Big Data is something that is sometimes lost in the noise of worries over invasions of privacy. Critics of Big Data sometimes forget, or fail to mention, all the benefits to society that are a direct result of Big Data. Another example, the discovery of three signs of cancerous cells that were previously unknown to doctors and medical professionals, proves that Big Data can aid the human race.
    While there are many concerns over the collection of Big Data, the net benefits do seem to outweigh the net losses, so long as the value individuals place on personal privacy isn’t very high.

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