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Fifteen years ago, the number of internet users was a mere 400 million people. However, this year, that number has shot to a whopping three billion people, with over two billion user accounts across social media platforms. Since people bade farewell to their desktop PCs at home, they have started to make all their online connections via their cell phones, be it their status posts detailing their feelings, news articles shared online, photos of their favorite coffee joints and vacations both in the country and abroad they post, and live recorded video clips, all of which snowball into an avalanche of big data that grows in magnitude each day as users create new content every second.
Let’s have a look at just how massive the amount of data is. Imagine that based on the statistics of what happens in the online world each minute:
•Siri on IOS has to answer 99,206 user questions.
•DropBox users upload 833,333 files to their DropBox.
•Google translated roughly 69,500,000 words.
•Amazon makes 222,283 USD (7-8 million THB).
Every thought and decision of users has transformed into valuable data and created new opportunities for businesses that exploit direct in-depth data they garner from users. However, to increase their value from this data, expertise and new instruments are required. To use an analogy, data is bricks, and in order to build a strong wall, cement, or “data analysis,” is needed to connect these bricks and put them together. Therefore, it is the ability to screen, analyze, and enrich the data at hand that will set a business apart and put it ahead of others. As such, data scientists have risen as a profession to keep our eyes on in the 21st century.
The British government has set a premium on big data as one of the eight world-changing technology as well as allocated budgets to support national development, using the mass amounts of data to enhance the country’s potential. One evident application of big data is Sportify’s ability to select next songs that we will be pleased with. Big data can also be applied to the elevation of quality of life, such as the Route to Diagnosis Project by the National Cancer Intelligence Network, in which patient data from 2006-2013 was collected to inform the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer in risk groups. The data is classified according to the demographic groups, responsible organizations, services provision, and personal information so as to allow searches for patients and appropriate treatment in a timely fashion. Another example is the London-based startup CityMapper, a tourist application that gathers data on buses, trains, subways, and Uber to enable its users to identify the quickest and safest route. Starting out as a humble startup, CityMapper has expanded its services to over 30 countries and become available in cities such as Madrid, Sao Paolo, and San Francisco, boosting its value to 11.4 trillion THB – an astounding growth that owes its capital to user data.
Big data has grown by 90% just in the past two years alone, thanks to the unprecedented variety and swiftness of data flows. As brands can now utilize user data to offer new experience to their customers and marketers and advertising agencies can incorporate the data that they have into the brand’s story, big data has become a tool with which a business can empower itself and create strengths as long as consumer behavior remains inextricable from the online world and this new connectivity continues to link cultures and break through barriers of the old world. Certainly, the use of big data should be informed by ethical awareness of privacy. Similarly, governments and business must also ensure that its utilization of users’ personal data is for the benefit of society – a much-debated topic for the world that is going through a transition. As the digital world is expanding and the rhythm we are familiar with is accelerating like never before, prepare yourself and step into the world revolutionized by data with us at CU 2016: EXIT this October.
“The big data explosion sets us profound challenges – how can we keep up?” from theguardian.com
“The total network: how the internet of things is reshaping our world” from theengineer.co.uk
Cambridge Big Data Project from bigdata.cam.ac.uk
Photo by Pujohn Das/ Space10
The shortage of resources…
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Professor Andy Miah’s interest has expanded extensively beyond his degrees in Science, Bioethics and Medical Law to other topics that concern emerging technologies and human enhancement. Basically, he advocates the use of technology to enhance humans, individually and socially. His books, lectures and articles usually advocate people to ponder about future of humanity beyond the current context so as to design it without restricted boundaries. His project #media2012 inside the mega event such as Olympics, for example, was also targeted to enhance humans socially with the power of digital media and citizen journalism. This article will seek to provide an insight to those innovative ideas that are centred around humans.