Big Data is the Future

Last week I attended the World Futures Society Conference, in Chicago. At this conference I connected a few dots together about the role of ‘Big’ in the future. And I am not just talking about Big Data (Big Da). There were clear signs that there is more to big. As leaders, we need to understand BIG and its role in changing the way we work.  Big is the future. There are four main ways in which this can be considered. Meet the Big Family:

Big Da – Data and Analytics

Big Data analyses the immense wealth of data that is collected by organisations. It will continue to be an area of rapid growth.

McKinsey describes Big Data as the next frontier for innovation and make it clear that it is the role of leaders, not just selected data managers, to understand this.

Big Bro – Privacy

More people are concerned with access to their data. Tor is an example of software that can help protect your privacy.

The role of the internet in narrowing our searches. Eli Parisier, in this TEDtalk, describes this narrowing as a filter bubble. Parisier also outlines ten ways to pop your filter bubble.

This manipulation of your information is not understood by many, yet Georgia Tech’s Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2013 lists information manipulation as one of the main threats for the year. Georgia Tech has developed a chrome extension called Bobble that you can use to ‘pop the bubbles’.

Big Brother surveillance regulations make it easier for governments to monitor their citizens, and to allow others to access this information. In New Zealand, the Search and Surveillance Bill, has been criticised for breaching personal rights.

Big Ma – Quantified Self

We can increasingly use big data for personal monitoring. It is a little like having a mother watching us and making recommendations!

Maria H. Anderson refers to this aspect of personalisation as a Personal Life Operating System (PLOS) which interacts with the physical world. In the future (maybe within five years) we will all carry settings for PLOS.

Expect to see a growth in the quantified self as the internet of things gains pace. Monitoring of personal health is one of the strongest growth areas. Fitbit Flex is my current choice of monitoring device, but the landscape is rapidly changing.

Big Systa – The Internet of Things

Big systa involves systems and entities talking to each other, without  human intervention. Our role as leaders will be to add the human back into the conversation.

These infographics provide further information about the Internet of Things.

Which of these BIGs has the greatest impact on your role as a leader? 


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