What Is Big Data? Should You Fear It?

By turning super computers loose on massive amounts of data, companies are able to make more informed decisions, but making decisions based on computer output can be humbling. 

What's the Latest Development?

Data analysis is set to become a major part of running just about any business, so greatly has our capacity to measure and process information grown. For companies, that means improving the efficiency of daily operations and keeping a simple and direct line open to customers. Sprint, for example, once offered its customers over 300,000 different service options which overwhelmed customers, made it difficult to understand exactly why they were unhappy and confused daily business operations in a crisscross of inefficiency. 

What's the Big Idea?

Big data analysis is set to streamline business, albeit in a complicated way. By 2018, a shortage of 200,000 skilled data analysts is predicted. But the bigger obstacle, say data companies, is resistance at the individual and corporate level from those who are not ready to hand over their authority to computers. Big data, however, remains an opportunity more than a threat. Using IBM's big data services to analyze a wide array of patient data, one healthcare provider uncovered a previously unknown risk factor for heart disease, dramatically cutting costsand saving lives. 

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Sponsored by Northwell Health
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Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
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Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
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