In the past few decades, technology has revolutionized our lifestyle. Our smartphones, smart TVs, smart refrigerators and smart interiors are programmed to predict our needs and model our environments in a way that is most pleasing to us. But to give us these facilities, our service providers require data about our usage pattern and preferences. Algorithms turn this data into productive information to help companies offer us tailor-made services. With our continued use of smart devices, more data gets collected and services get fine-tuned.
Providing a customized experience to users require collection, storage, analysis and management of huge volumes of complex data; a task too complicated for conventional software to handle. Big data is the umbrella term for these humongous data sets and their management.
Here are some pros and cons of big data.
Usage of big data has enhanced our user experience. Sectors where big data is helping us in a truly big way are:
- Healthcare: through personalized treatment, predictive analysis of patients and shorter lead times in the development of new drugs.
- Government: through innovations to provide cost-effective services to citizens.
- Security: through extensive tracking mechanisms to monitor and neutralize terrorist threats.
- Energy: through design of efficient energy distribution systems.
- Disaster preparedness: through monitoring and forecasting weather patterns and seismic events.
Future of big data lies in solving traffic problems, providing targeted delivery of healthcare and education, ensuring food security and minimizing wastage.
Everything we do with smart devices generates big data. The lack of checks and balances on its usage raise concerns about our privacy. Our usage history can be and are being sold to other companies for profit. In turn, this information is being used to influence our choices. Analysis of our credit card spending pattern and call records can be used to track us. Data theft is another concern.
Love it or hate it, big data is here to stay. As in the case of any new technology, to prevent its misuse, regulations should be brought into effect. It should not be used for any immoral or unethical activities or to infringe on our freedom. No one’s personal information should be disclosed without their permission or outside of the legal framework. Impartial considerations must be put in place for security tracking applications so that personal prejudices are not reflected in the algorithm.
The future of this powerful tool should ultimately be for the betterment of our society, not for its destruction.