Monday, October 7, 2013

Joe B. Garza Talks Big Data’s Ever-Growing Clout

“Big Data” is a loosely-defined phrase, but refers to the use of technology to gather massive amounts of data for what are usually commercial purposes. The use of data is obviously of great importance in advertising and marketing; for example, businesses can learn more about their target audience’s behavior by gathering data from social media posts and neighborhood demographics. But Big Data’s uses go well beyond marketing. An airline company can gather data on every flight it offers to customers, and then analyze the data to identify safety concerns or potential manufacturing improvements. Executives will have troves of data to better evaluate their employees’ productivity. Financial analysts and money managers will be able to conduct more exhaustive analyses of stock market performance.

The effects of Big Data are certain to spread into culture and education as well, not simply business. For example, applications capable of instantly translating foreign languages could very well lead to less of an emphasis on learning a foreign language, similar to how word processing lessened the importance of cursive writing.

But Big Data has its downsides too. Privacy concerns will inevitably arise (as seen by the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ communications), and the potential to misuse huge amounts of detailed data on people is self-evident. Nevertheless, the commercial potential of Big Data will ensure that enterprises continue to develop it.

For more from Joe B. Garza, visit more of his commentary online

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