Big Data has a much bigger impact on our lives than we think. It is much more than a tool used only by big companies. Actually, Big Data allow us to discover and predict almost every aspect of our lives, from the adverts we are shown and the information we consume to the medical treatments we get.
Steve Lohr, a tech expert and journalist in the New York Times, has written a book analysing the expansion of Big Data from different perspectives. In Data-ism. The revolution transforming decision making, consumer behaviour and almost everything else, he provides his own view on how Big Data will shape our future.
What is Data-ism?
On Lohr’s opinion, data-ism is a transforming way of measuring and seeing, originated from the traditional data analysis methods. It is a point of view, a philosophy, on how decisions will (and maybe should) be made in the future.
In the information economy, data are the new raw materials, therefore the key to competitiveness. There’s a new algorithmic order in the world which is the basis of a new wave of economic efficiency and innovation. The data-ism era is here, but are we ready to manage its positive and negative consequences?
Taking advantage of opportunities and minimising the risks
Data-ism makes it possible for us to view the hidden world of interconnected data. It is a world full of new opportunities, but also of challenges and potential risks.
The aim is to create tools in order to be more efficient and improve our lives. If we’re able to make the most out of it, data-ism will radically change the way we make decisions. Actually, it is already doing so. We will stop trusting our intuition and experience to start trusting data and analysis, which will completely transform management and leadership.
The challenge will lie in taking Big Data far beyond the Internet and in being able to add an algorithmic layer to the physical world we’re living in. But data-ism is also facing some challenges itself: it must be able to find the right balance between automated and human decision-making. And what’s more, it has to do it while taking into account the political and ethical risks derived especially from privacy rights.
Translation by Susana Castro