Synopses & Reviews
A revelatory exploration of the hottest trend in technology and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science, and society at large.
Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak?
The key to answering these questions, and many more, is big data. “Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena — from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books — into searchable form, and uses our burgeoning computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before. A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education, and innovation in the years to come. It also poses fresh threats, from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior.
In this brilliantly clear, often surprising work, two leading experts explain what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards. Big Data is the first big book about the next big thing.
"Every decade, there are a handful of books that change the way you look at everything. This is one of those books. Society has begun to reckon the change that big data will bring. This book is an incredibly important start." Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of Remix and Free Culture
"This brilliant book cuts through the mystery and the hype surrounding big data. A must-read for anyone in business, information technology, public policy, intelligence, and medicine. And anyone else who is just plain curious about the future." John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp., and head of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
"Big Data breaks new ground in identifying how today's avalanche of information fundamentally shifts our basic understanding of the world. Argued boldly and written beautifully, the book clearly shows how companies can unlock value, how policymakers need to be on guard, and how everyone's cognitive models need to change." Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
"Big Data is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay ahead of one of the key trends defining the future of business." Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
"An optimistic and practical look at the Big Data revolution — just the thing to get your head around the big changes already underway and the bigger changes to come." Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com
"Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren't, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can't. The authors show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex, and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks." Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody
"The book teems with great insights on the new ways of harnessing information, and offers a convincing vision of the future. It is essential reading for anyone who uses — or is affected by — big data." Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow & Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics
A revelatory exploration of emerging trends in "big data" — our newfound ability to gather and interpret vast amounts of information — and the revolutionary effects these developments are producing in business, science, and society at large.
About the Author
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. A widely recognized authority on big data, he is the author of over a hundred articles and eight books, of which the most recent is Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
. He is on the advisory boards of corporations and organizations around the world, including Microsoft and the World Economic Forum.
Kenneth Cukier is the Data Editor of the Economist and a prominent commentator on developments in big data. His writings on business and economics have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and elsewhere.
Table of Contents
1 Now 1
2 More 19
3 Messy 32
4 Correlation 50
5 Datafication 73
6 Value 98
7 Implications 123
8 Risks 150
9 Control 171
10 Next 185