The mind-blowing growth and power of big data
The amount of digital data in the universe is growing at an exponential rate, doubling every two years, and changing how we live in the world."The rate at which we're generating data is rapidly outpacing our ability to analyze it," Professor Patrick Wolfe, Executive Director of the University College of London's Big Data Institute, tells Business Insider. "The trick here is to turn these massive data streams from a liability into a strength."
Just about 0.5% of all data is currently analyzed, and Wolfe says that percentage is shrinking as more data is collected.
At the same time, big data has almost limitless potential. Already, big data is doing everything from decoding DNA strands to predicting disease patterns, to suggesting what movies we might want to watch online.
Big data helps cut energy costs in buildings, potentially eliminating $200 billion in waste annually. New York City and Chicago are becoming smart cities using big data and sensors to not only save money but run as efficiently as possible.
"You have to start with a question and not with the data," says Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist of Amazon, now director of the Social Data Lab and lecturer at UC Berkeley.
"The fact that [the data] gets collected is a good thing," says Weigend. It's up to society, he says, to creatively ask the right questions.