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

Viktor Mayer-Sch%C3%B6nberger and Kenneth Cukier. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-00269-2
Oxford professor Mayer-Schönberger (Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Internet Age) and Economist data editor Cukier survey the changes to modern life created by our increased capacity to gather and process data. Arguing that the need for statistical sampling is now behind us due to modern computing capacity, the authors discuss how big data's capabilities supersede past methods in applications like tracking the spread of the flu or credit card fraud. Even the human body can be "datafied," with modern applications that use a person's walking gait as a password or monitor body tremors to track the progression of neurological disorders. The rise of big data has helped to create several types of companies: those that own data, those that analyze data, and those that know how to use data to find the answers to new problems. The authors review the risks of this new trend, from privacy concerns to over-reliance on numbers to changes in an individual's responsibility to society. They write with enthusiasm, call for new career paths for algorithmists, and close with a prediction that big data will change the world, from helping solve climate change to improving global health care accessibility. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-1-84854-791-9
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-0-544-22775-0
Paperback - 318 pages - 978-986-320-191-5
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