Rethink Big Data

Reflection and doubt to big data have never stopped. They are mainly in two sides: big data itself and ethic problems created by big data.

In the last post, I discussed the problems causing by big data itself. There are some congenital defects in big data. As big data is used to predict the whole by part or the future by past. However, there is always deviation existed in this prediction.

Besides, new digital divide may occur. Indeed, big data can improve the decision-making efficiency. But in the meantime, challenges of privacy, interoperability between the systems, not perfect algorithm and so on can be accumulated in developing countries. Big data needs matched infrastructure such as facilities designed for large scale distributed data intensive work, high efficient store facilities, network facilities for fast large data set importing etc.


(google’s secret data center)

Another non-ignorable problem is ethic issues which is mainly about the privacy problems which I have discussed several posts previously. Rethink it by the most classic case in big data era. In the early 2012, one American burst into the Target shop near his home and angrily questioned the manager:” how could you send baby diapers and discount coupon of bassinet to my daughter? She’s only 17!.” The manager apologized immediately. However, after one month, this angry father called back and apologized as his daughter was really pregnant. Not only Target, but also google, yahoo, apple,twitter, advertisement companies, data analysis companies,software companies etc. are collecting users’ private data. How to protect public privacy from violation is a big challenge in the future.

Big data is a creature of the age and will have significant impact on current society. How to improve the accuracy of decision making and face on problems causing by big data needs efforts from all sectors of society.



The New York Times. 2012 The Age of Big Data FROM

The Economist, 2010, Data, data everywhere. FROM

Capella.J., Horne.A., & Shah.S. (2012) Good Data Won’t Guarantee Good Decisions. From

Danah.B.. 2010. Privacy and Publicity in the Context of Big Data.WWW. Raleigh, North Carolina


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