The rise of big data can be traced back through history. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier chronicle its evolution and describe its current state in Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. I couldn’t put it down!
One defining aspect of big data is its focus on “what” data say. In other words, big data reveals trends and patterns, but it does not explain why they appear or occur. Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier make this observation about correlation and causation:
[i]n a big data world…we won’t have to be fixated on causality; instead we can discover patterns and correlations in the data that offer us novel and invaluable insights. The correlations may not tell us precisely why something is happening, but they alert us that it is happening.
How does this point impact how you understand big data and its impact?
Source: Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
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