Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is the Use of Big Data Going Too Far?

Did you know everyday we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data? We’re in an era where Big Data takes center stage in the world of technology. Big data affects all industries that are striving to grow. With the hype of big data opening the door for companies to heighten their competitive edge and profitability, Big Data is going to have a great effect on our future.

We have access to all the data in the world, but it’s how we use the information to our advantage that makes all the difference. In Steve McKee’s article about Big Data he talks about the success of thriving companies with the use of valuable information. One company used speech analytics to analyze the conversations of customers who were terminating their accounts. They used key words and phrases to identify other at-risk customers. Reaching out to the customers, the company saved about 600 accounts and more than $12 million in revenue within a year.

Big Data offers competitive advantages, allowing companies and industries to improve in investments and efficiency. If we don’t take advantage of the information out there and put it to good use, we are not working to our full advantage in the competitive world.

The issue that most people find concerning is personal privacy. Big data has both an impact on our professional and personal lives. The video below gives a great perspective of Big Data and the information it exposes. Acknowledging how much personal information we are putting out to the public definitely made me reevaluate what I share online. I found most shocking was that 1,803,330,457 people have access to our information under Facebook’s default privacy settings.

Adam Frank made a point in his article about Big Data stating, “Big Data means memory storage has become so cheap that all data about all those aspects of our lives can be harvested and put to use.” Frank brings up a great point where Big Data opens up opportunity for manipulation, but I believe the benefits of the information from a professional perspective outweigh the risks involving personal privacy. I say this because there is too much data out there to sift through and time needed to use information against an individual in a corruptive way. I believe the focus is more on using information to improve businesses and industries.

We live in a world where technology plays a great role in our everyday lives. I understand that we are losing privacy because of Big Data, but it is something we have to adjust to if we want to take advantage of its value in the long run. We are the ones allowing the world to access our information when we decide to take part in social media. We just have to be careful with what we share and grow to accept Big Data’s impact now and in the coming future as we advance in the technological world.

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