- On May 25, 2018
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- Big Data, datos, IV Revolución Industrial
“We must develop an integrated and globally shared vision on how technology is affecting our lives and reconfiguring our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.”
These words were pronounced by Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, at the event celebrated in 2016. The gathering still generates news and serves as a research subject in current investigations worldwide in the fields of society, politics, and economy.
The IV Industrial Revolution is certainly here and is a complex and extensive topic. One of its main implications is associated with the fact that each individual is part of a data that is already being used in a particular way.
For instance, it makes it possible that ads of products we have been willing to buy for a while pop out of nowhere on our computer or smartphone screens. No, it’s not magic. It’s the marketing of today and the marketing of the future.
This side of the revolution is known as Big Data, with whom we obliviously share lots of things on a daily basis. It’s like our second shadow but even more powerful as it doesn’t need the sun or any other light source to be with us every day, at all times.
It gathers information about us whenever we use a smartphone or enter data on social networks; whenever we search on the web, send a simple e-mail or use our credit or debit cards to make payments.
Antonio Monleón-Getino wrote The Impact of Big Data on The Information Society, an article published by the University of Barcelona. The professor remarked the following questions:
“Is the data propagation the proof that the world is becoming more intrusive? Can we be sure that there is economic value behind all of this massive information? Should we trust machines with the task of filtering out irrelevant information? Should we regulate the use of such information?”
He continues to add the following facts from two studies conducted by Manyika and others (2011) from the McKinsey Global Institute and Andrew McAfee & Erik Brynjolfsson (2012) from the Harvard Business Review:
- Ninety percent of all of the world’s data has been created in the last two years.
- A hard drive containing the entire world’s music only costs about 500€.
- By 2010, there were 5 billion smartphones out there.
- Thirty billion content items are shared on Facebook each month.
- As of April 2011, 235 Terabytes (TB) of data were stored by the United States Library of Congress.
- Fifteen out of seventeen economic sectors in the US have more stored data in each company than the Library of Congress – the world’s largest.
- In 2012, about 2.5 exabytes (EB) of information were generated per day. This figure doubles every 40 months.
In his article, Monleón-Getino also mentions examples of the benefits offered by Big Data in several fields such as healthcare and the urban development towards transforming cities into “Smart Cities”.
There are lots of applications, including a traffic lights system designed to detect the areas with the worst traffic jam in order to regulate the duration of the green light. As for healthcare, Big Data makes it possible to gather all the diagnoses of certain diseases in order to design more accurate treatments.
Nevertheless, as many other authors, he refers to the ethical implications of the management of such huge volumes of information generated each day.
There’s so much to be discovered about ourselves, our brand preferences reflected in the way we dress, travel, and even our sexual orientation can be part of the data. It’s feared that some entity, elite, group or state might have the privilege to access such information, which would lead to a disloyal competition. The consequences would be terrible.
If you feel like you’re being watched after all you’ve read, get used to it. This era is not for paranoids. Leave your comments about this hot topic in the appropriate section. We could start an interesting conversation.