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Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think [Hardcover]

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger , Kenneth Cukier
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 5 2013

A revelatory exploration of the hottest trend in technology and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science, and society at large.

Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak?

The key to answering these questions, and many more, is big data. “Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena—from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books—into searchable form, and uses our increasing computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before. A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education, and innovation in the years to come. It also poses fresh threats, from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior.

In this brilliantly clear, often surprising work, two leading experts explain what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards. Big Data is the first big book about the next big thing.

www.big-data-book.com



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Review

"Every decade, there are a handful of books that change the way you look at everything. This is one of those books. Society has begun to reckon the change that big data will bring. This book is an incredibly important start."
—Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of Remix and Free Culture

"This brilliant book cuts through the mystery and the hype surrounding big data.
A must-read for anyone in business, information technology, public policy, intelligence, and medicine. And anyone else who is just plain curious about the future."
—John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp., and head of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

"Big Data breaks new ground in identifying how today’s avalanche of information fundamentally shifts our basic understanding of the world. Argued boldly and written beautifully, the book clearly shows how companies can unlock value, how policymakers need to be on guard, and how everyone’s cognitive models need to change."
—Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab

"Big Data is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay ahead of one of the key trends defining the future of business."
—Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com

"An optimistic and practical look at the Big Data revolution — just the thing to get your head around the big changes already underway and the bigger changes to come."
—Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com

"Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren’t, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can’t. The authors show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex, and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks."
—Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody

"The book teems with great insights on the new ways of harnessing information, and offers a convincing vision of the future. It is essential reading for anyone who uses — or is affected by — big data."
—Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow & Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics

“What I’m certain about is that Big Data will be the defining text in the discussion for some time to come.”
—Forbes.com

“The authors make clear that ‘big data’ is much more than a Silicon Valley buzzword… No other book offers such an accessible and balanced tour of the many benefits and downsides of our continuing infatuation with data.”
Wall Street Journal

"Plenty of books extol the technical marvels of our information society, but this is an original analysis of the information itself—trillions of searches, calls, clicks, queries and purchases....A fascinating, enthusiastic view of the possibilities of vast computer correlations and the entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of them."
—STARRED Kirkus Reviews

"This book offers important insights and information"
—Booklist

"'big data' [is] one of the buzzwords of corporate executives, tech-savvy politicians, and worried civil libertarians. If you want to know what they’re all talking about, then Big Data is the book for you, a comprehensive and entertaining introduction to a very large topic....Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier offer up some sensible suggestions on how we can have the blessings of big data and our freedoms, too. Just as well; their lively book leaves no doubt that big data’s growth spurt is just beginning."
—Boston Globe

About the Author

VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. The co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We, Live, Work, and Think, he has published over a hundred articles and eight other books, including Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. He is on the advisory boards of corporations and organizations around the world, including Microsoft and the World Economic Forum.

KENNETH CUKIER is the Data Editor of the Economist and co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. His writings on business and economics have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and elsewhere.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
According to Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, "There is no rigorous definition of big data. Initially the idea was that the volume of information had grown so large that the quantity being examined no longer fit into the memory that computers use for processing, so engineers needed to revamp the tools they used for analyzing it all...One way to think about the issue today -- and the way we do in the book -- is this: big data refers to things one can do at a large scale that cannot be done at a smaller one, to extract new insights or create new forms of value, in ways that change markets, organizations, the relationship between citizens and governments, and more." Much more.

Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier identify and examine several "shifts" in the way information is analyzed that transform how we understand and organize society. Understanding these shifts helps us to understand the nature and extent of big data's possibilities as well as its limitations. For example, more data can be processed and evaluated. Also, Looking at vastly more data reduces our preoccupation with exactitude. Moreover, "these two shifts lead to a third change, which we explain in Chapter Four: a move away from the age-old search for causality." They devote a separate chapter to each of these shifts, then shift their and their reader's attention to a term, indeed a process that helps frame the changes: datafication, a concept they discuss in Chapter Five.

Then in Chapters Six and Seven, they explain how big data changes the nature of business, markets, and society as what they characterize as a multi-dimensional "treasure hunt" continues to extract insights from data and unleash dormant value by a shift from causation to correlation.
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By David
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book shows how big data can be useful but also warns of the dangers of possible abuse. Great for an overall understanding of this subject.
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4.0 out of 5 stars timely Aug. 27 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
good read...not technical but content was very helpful...but boy was it timely...it prompted me to buy facebook stock...in the $20's...so it has been profitably as well
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