Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

By Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

A revelatory exploration of the most popular development in know-how and the dramatic influence it is going to have at the economic system, technological know-how, and society at large.Which paint colour is probably to inform you used automobile is fit? How can officers establish the main risky big apple urban manholes ahead of they explode? and the way did Google searches expect the unfold of the H1N1 flu outbreak?The key to answering those questions, and plenty of extra, is gigantic facts. “Big info” refers to our burgeoning skill to crunch significant collections of data, learn it immediately, and draw occasionally profoundly brilliant conclusions from it. This rising technology can translate myriad phenomena—from the cost of airline tickets to the textual content of thousands of books—into searchable shape, and makes use of our expanding computing strength to unearth epiphanies that we by no means may have obvious prior to. A revolution on par with the web or maybe even the printing press, tremendous facts will swap the way in which we predict approximately enterprise, future health, politics, schooling, and innovation within the future years. It additionally poses clean threats, from the inevitable finish of privateness as we all know it to the possibility of being penalized for issues we haven’t even performed but, in line with substantial data’s skill to foretell our destiny behavior.In this brilliantly transparent, frequently awesome paintings, top specialists clarify what immense info is, the way it will switch our lives, and what we will do to guard ourselves from its risks. immense facts is the 1st large booklet in regards to the subsequent sizeable factor.

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Extra info for Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

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But both the infatuation and the damnation profoundly misunderstand the importance of what is taking place. Just as the telescope enabled us to comprehend the universe and the microscope allowed us to understand germs, the new techniques for collecting and analyzing huge bodies of data will help us make sense of our world in ways we are just starting to appreciate. In this book we are not so much big data’s evangelists, but merely its messengers. And, again, the real revolution is not in the machines that calculate data but in data itself and how we use it.

For a long time, random sampling was a good shortcut. It made analysis of large data problems possible in the pre-digital era. But much as when converting a digital image or song into a smaller file, information is lost when sampling. Having the full (or close to the full) dataset provides a lot more freedom to explore, to look at the data from different angles or to look closer at certain aspects of it. A fitting analogy may be the Lytro camera, which captures not just a single plane of light, as with conventional cameras, but rays from the entire light field, some 11 million of them.

But how to choose a sample? Some argued that purposefully constructing a sample that was representative of the whole would be the most suitable way forward. But in 1934 Jerzy Neyman, a Polish statistician, forcefully showed that such an approach leads to huge errors. The key to avoid them is to aim for randomness in choosing whom to sample. Statisticians have shown that sampling precision improves most dramatically with randomness, not with increased sample size. In fact, though it may sound surprising, a randomly chosen sample of 1,100 individual observations on a binary question (yes or no, with roughly equal odds) is remarkably representative of the whole population.

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