Data for the faint hearted

Big data is for the faint hearted. The ones without conviction and visions in the corporate world. The ones that are mostly about mitigating risk and making sure with all possible measures money is not lost.

Sure, there are companies like Google that build their whole business idea on massive data. I will promptly exclude them, but they are a tiny minority in the scheme of things.

Most companies now taking in the power of big data do it mainly because they are afraid to fail. Processing massive data is not their main business model. It is something new and exciting but most likely will lead to less creativity, less vision and a whole lot of thinking in the box.

Because acting on big data means giving customers exactly what they want. No surprises. No risk. Nothing new. Exactly what will give, a most likely, moderate return of investment. Inventions are left in the lab.

So what to do, scrap big data? No, not at all. But before crunching numbers and acting on analysis made on billions of figures. Figure out first what it really means.

Technology is neither good or bad, it is neutral and reflects society. It is not determined but leads us where we lead it through culture, politics, social structures and norms.

PRISM, Google, Facebook and Twitter all reflect this. And right now we are on a path where big data is mainly used to secure (on national levels), earn money to corporations and decrease integrity.

It is and could be used to other things too, perhaps more beneficial to the global community: gathering data to optimize public infrastructure, handle common resources like oil, fish and gas and making health research to save lives.

Maybe it can even save the faint hearted.


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