Book Review: Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think

Book Review

This illuminating book is co-authored by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier. Viktor, a professor of Internet Governance and Regulations at the Oxford Internet Institute of the Oxford University and Kenneth, who holds the position of Data Editor at The Economist, both have written this book in an argumentative format discussing mainly the things that seem to have changed the nature of surveillance.
They write “In the spirit of Google or Facebook, the new thinking is that people are the sum of their social relationships, online interactions, and connections with content. In order to fully investigate an individual, all analysts have to do is to look at the widest possible penumbra of data. This data which surrounds the person, not including just whom they know, but also who all those people know.”
Both the authors argue that big data analytics have played a crucial role in revolutionizing how we all of us see and process the world around us. They compare this to a number of other processes including the Gutenberg printing press. In the course of this book, the readers receive a fascinating, and sometimes alarming, results of big data’s effect on the world. This effect includes the changes in the businesses, governments, science, medicine, privacy as well as our thought processes. They believe that it is these notions of causality, which will give way to correlation as the readers try to make sense of the various patterns.
With this great increase, the storage costs of this ever increasing data are also steadily increasing. Data crunching techniques, which were once available and used for spying agencies, research labs and gigantic companies, today are steadily becoming democratized.
The authors go ahead to write, “the ability to capture personal data is often built deep into the tools we use every day. These include the website to all the apps on our phones.” The purpose of writing this is to bring to the fore, the many secondary uses of data. Not every single company is able to let their customers know or even give a warning for the recycling and reuse of their data. For all the positive points of this massive data revolution and its benefits, there are some very worrying aspects too, which are highlighted by the authors. This is explained with the use of a fictionalized futuristic scenario, where data analytics would be so advanced that people could be very well arrested, well before they even committed certain crimes.
While they do endorse the fact that these developments are definitely going to bring a lot of positivity and development, but then it also has a number of consequences to deal with. One thing this book reiterates time and again that Big Data as a field will be a pool of opportunities for Data aspirants. This is why Imarticus Learning is becoming popular by the day as many candidates opt to get professionally trained for the same.

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