Decoding Big Data and why it is important.

Big Data is evolving, its the force behind many ongoing waves of digital transformation, including AI, data science and the IoT. This is largely due to the rise of technology and its capacity of capturing information from the real world, and converting it to digital data. [3] We generate data whenever we go online, leaving digital footprints with everything we do. The amount of machine-generated data is rapidly growing too, data is also generated and shared with our “smart” home devices. [3]


How does it work?

Most commonly this is done through a process which involves building models, based on the data we can collect, and then running simulations, tweaking the value of data points each time and monitoring how it impacts our results. [3] Big Data projects often use cutting edge analytics involving AI and ML. By teaching computers to identify what this data represents through image recognition or natural language processing, they can learn to spot patterns much more quickly and reliably than humans. [3]


What is Big Data’s impact in modern society and business?

Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, says to grasp the potential impact of Big Data, look to the microscope, although it was invented four centuries ago, it allowed people to see and measure things as never before. [2] According to him, Big Data is the modern equivalent of the microscope. He argues that in business, economics and other fields, decisions will increasingly be based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition. [2]


How are the big companies using this?

Retailers, like Walmart and Kohl’s, analyze sales, pricing and economic, demographic and weather data to tailor product selections at particular stores and determine the timing of price markdowns. Shipping companies, like U.P.S., mine data on truck delivery times and traffic patterns to fine-tune routing. [2] In economic forecasting, research has shown that trends in increasing or decreasing volumes of housing-related search queries in Google are a more accurate predictor of house sales in the next quarter than the forecasts of real estate economists. [2],[1]


So how is Big Data helping us?

  • Curing diseases [3]
  • Feeding the hungry [3]
  • Exploring distant planets [3]
  • Predicting and respond to natural and man-made disasters [3]
  • Preventing crime [3]
  • Making our lives easier and more convenient [3]


Big Data gives us unprecedented insights and opportunities, but it also raises concerns like our data’s privacy and security. [1] The amount of data available to us is only going to increase, and analytics technology will become more capable. So if Big Data is capable of all of this today – just imagine what it will be capable of tomorrow… [2]


Works Cited

[1] Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfeeErik. “Big Data: The Management Revolution.” Harvard Business Review, 8 Oct. 2014,

[2] Lohr, Steve. “The Age of Big Data.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2012,

[3] Marr, Bernard. “The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Big Data Everyone Can Understand.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 6 July 2018,