Articles on Big data

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You can shine light on a dog, but it’s still a dog. cabancreative/Flickr

Most ‘big data’ marketing is a waste of time, and here’s why

A passer-by happens upon a drunk searching for a lost wallet under a streetlight. With nothing in plain sight, the passer-by asks “Where did you drop your wallet?”. “Over there,” gestures the drunk across…
How can big data help us to better understand the cinema habits of movie-lovers around the world? Kenneth Lu/Flickr

Big Data at the movies: the Kinomatics project

The backlash against “big data” studies is well underway. And no more so than in the area of humanities and creative arts research. If I had a dollar for every person who has told me over the past year…
Human rights monitoring can now be done by anyone. Allyson Neville-Morgan

Big data brings new power to open-source intelligence

In November 2013, the New Yorker published a profile of Eliot Higgins – or Brown Moses as he is known to almost 17,000 Twitter followers. An unemployed finance and admin worker at the time, Higgins was…
Aside from the usual data we hand over to internet companies and gadget manufacturers, there’s loads of other data our devices collect which we don’t know about. Chris Isherwood/Flickr

Detection devices: how a ‘sensor society’ quietly takes over

As our cars, phones and computers get “smarter” they – and the companies that provide them – know a lot more about us than they used to. A large part of this data collection stems from the fact that these…
We collect climate data. We collect health data. What if we combined the two? Kevin

Data mashups can help answer the world’s biggest questions

As the world wakes up to the power of data, we need to start working out how to join up all this information. We need to turn it into meaningful findings that will help us to make changes to the way we…
Chances are your every shopping move is being tracked. Phil Campbell/Flickr

Big Data and personalised pricing: consider yourself gamed

Imagine yourself the CEO of a company that mainly sells one product. One of your goals is to maximise profits. You know you can charge a flat price, or modestly raise profits by using quantity discounts…
Good grief. Have you checked out the small print on this care.data deal? Machine Project

Time for some truth about who is feeding off our NHS data

The UK government has decided to hold off on plans to upload GP records onto a central database for six months. But it may have to drop the plan permanently unless it can provide satisfactory answers to…
MongoDB co-founder and chairman Dwight Merriman still writes code. TechCrunch/Flickr

The new technologies needed for dealing with big data

While much focus and discussion of the so-called “Big Data revolution” has been on the data itself and the exciting new applications it is enabling — from Google’s self-driving cars through to CSIRO and…
Twitpic does all the hard work these days, so A&R men don’t even have to leave the office. marfis75

Twitter data puts music moguls back in the game

Twitter has decided to woo the music industry with a promise to share data on up-and-coming artists in a deal that would whet the appetite of most music lovers. It makes sense for one of the largest social…
NHS systems are groaning under the weight of big data and that’s bad for patients. Trevor Pritchard

Outdated laws put your health data in jeopardy

Given the heightened sense of concern about our personal data following the Edward Snowden revelations, it probably isn’t the best time for the NHS to ask us for more. So it simply hasn’t bothered asking…
So many people, so much data. Flickr/Fran Simó

Explainer: what is big data?

Big Data, as the name implies, relates to very large sets of data collected through free or commercial services on the internet. This massive amount of data arises from sensors, posts to social networking…
Looking to big data for that extra leap. EPA/JASON SZENES Corbis Out

Big data can give athletes the winning edge

Sport at the elite level has always adopted new technologies to capture data from players during play to better understand their performance and their team’s result. Closely aligned with this is the practice…
Big Data can and is being used for good, but greater transparency is required to remove the ‘creepy’ factor. Shutterstock.com

Taking the ‘creepy’ out of Big Data

Big Data has a reputation for being creepy; the domain of “Big Business” and “Big Government”. At best it’s the driver of relentless advertising, uniquely targeted and eerily reminiscent of our most recent…
You’re producing a lot of useful data but would you know what do with it? altemark

The trials and tribulations of giving back your data

Living in the age of data – whether big or small – certainly has its benefits for businesses and governments. Consumers, however, might be excused for feeling like they are being carried along without…
The skills required to tap Big Data include statistics, mathematics, computer science and engineering. Shutterstock.com

Solving Big Data’s big skills shortage

According to analyst firm Gartner, Big Data is at the portion of the hype cycle called the “peak of inflated expectations”. The business world is awash with all sorts of claims about the magic of Big Data…
Feeling sorry for yourself? Why not whine about it on social media? No, seriously. William Brawley

Sniffley tweeters help researchers locate flu outbreaks

Twitter has become the latest online tool to be used to monitor the spread of disease. Researchers are looking at whether…

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