Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Information replaces atom as the basis of life!

In his first book Delete - The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Victor Mayer-Schonberger had shocked readers with the immortal power of the internet. 'Nothing ever gets deleted', he had rightfully argued. Taking the argument further he now elaborates the revolutionary power of 'big data', making information digitization the new basis of life. Since people willingly share information online, the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter are inundated with enormous data to extract new insights or create new forms of value. 

Citing numerous instances where trends and predictions out of big data analysis has been put to economic use, datafication has helped in interpreting attitudes, sentiments and even human behavior like never before. Some 400 million tweets a day certainly help usher new insights on peoples’ moods, interests and preferences.

Processed data has started to look like a new resource and it can be processed again and again to meet diverse needs. It is said that every Facebook user is worth around $100, since users are the source of information in the first place. Only if the users realize the value of their 'likes' can they collectively bargain to get paid for their voluntary contribution? Not in too distant a future, such a scenario will emerge when big data will create an 'information economy' on its own. It even exists today, but has been capitalized by those who not only posses fastest computers but have servers with incredible storage capacity as well.

Like his previous book, Victor Mayer-Schonberger has come out with yet another ground-breaking book which portrays all aspects of what the emerging big data revolution may be all about. While seizing rewards of this incredible evolution, the potential risks associated with misappropriation of data must also be appreciated. For big data to ensure privacy, need for prior consent, opting out and anonymization have to be taken as policy prescription against its misuse.

Big Data is an exhaustive narrative on the virtues and risks associated with the emerging world of datafication. Full of anecdotal stories on latest developments, Big Data is a must read book....Link

Big Data
by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier 
Hachette India, Delhi
Extent; 242, Price: Rs 499

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