Big Data Saves Lives

One of the striking examples of the social value of the new techniques of data aggregation and analysis is described in Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. Big data is a business buzzword, but the underlying reality it describes is real.  The three Vs of big data – variety, velocity and volume – represent the new world in which data in a variety of formats, including unstructured data like video or text, come at a researcher in enormous quantities and in a constantly changing stream.  Add to this new world of data a range of advanced analytical techniques that can detect novel correlations in data without the need for a prior causal hypothesis, and the result is truly something new under the sun – a way to discover unsuspected and unanticipated insights into the world that simply could not have been uncovered with unaided empirical observation.