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Digital Essentials Choice Board

Big Data - Learn!

A few helpful definitions...

BIG DATA: Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions (Oxford Definitions)

DATA: Facts and statistics collected together to be used for different purposes (Common Sense Media)

COOKIES: Small text files stored on a computer that keep track of what a person does on a website (Common Sense Media)

TARGETED ADVERTISING: When apps or websites use information that they have collected about you to show you certain types of advertisements (Common Sense Media)

Image: thedigitalartist. "Big Data Analysis." Pixabay, 9 December 2015.

Still confused? Here are some analogies (or comparisons) that may make you understand the concept of 'Big Data' even better:

“Can you write down your name and your age? I am sure you can. Can you write it down for everyone in your class? Or for everyone in your school? Or everyone in your town? Everyone in the country? Everyone in the world? And then write down their age, their favourite colour, their favourite animal, their favourite TV programmes, almost anything you can think of … for millions and millions of people.
“That’s too much, isn’t it? You can’t do it, and I can’t do it. But some computers can do this, and we call it ‘big data’. Data is all the stuff we are writing down and you can imagine, for millions, billions, gazillions of people it is really BIG.
“What can we do with all this data? We can find patterns. For example, people making television programs may discover that children who like music really like drawing too, so they could make a new program about music and art. Or hospitals could discover that people who like different foods may get sick in different ways as they get older. That could help families and doctors look after our grandparents better.”

“Imagine a giant toy box, filled to the brim with lego bricks, duplo blocks and your favourite characters. Sounds exciting right? You could build all sorts of things, castles, forts, fire engines and even pirate ships. But with a box as big as you are and thousands of bricks all jumbled up it could be pretty difficult to find the right pieces.
“Big data is a lot like that toy box. A big jumble of numbers and words. This makes it very difficult to read and understand without lots of help.
“Say you wanted to build a fire engine. You would need some red bricks, a fireman model, wheels and the ladder for the fire engine. In that jumbled up box it would take you all day to find those bricks. It’s the same when it comes to big data. There is a lot of useful information in those huge data sets but finding it can be difficult.”

CITATION: Vadakkanmarveettil, Jyotsna. "Explaining Big Data to Kids." Jigsaw Academy, Manipal Global Education, 14 Nov. 2014, 
     #:~:text='%20Big%20data%20is%20exactly%20what,internet%20or%20post%20on%20Facebook. Accessed 8 Dec. 2020.

Below are a few examples of companies that have used BIG DATA to improve, or analyze their business (Screenshot adapted from this Mid-Pacific Institute Big Data slideshow)



"There’s no doubt we benefit from many conveniences and breakthroughs due to Big Data-powered apps and services, but at what risk to our privacy? Do we have any control about how much of our personal information is used? We’re now at the point where even a total technology boycott may no longer fully protect us. Unless, of course, you choose to walk everywhere you go, wear a different mask every day (to foil face-recognition technology) and use only cash (that you never deposit in a financial institution). Succeeding at navigating the modern world without technology is quite tricky and won’t necessarily protect your privacy 100%." (Forbes)

"So, you clicked and agreed to your data being used (and ultimately analyzed) because you felt the benefits of the product or service from that organization outweighed the loss to your privacy, but can you trust that organization to keep your data safe? The answer to that gets more difficult every single day.
As Big Data increases in size and the web of connected devices explodes it exposes more of our data to potential security breaches. Many organizations already struggled with data security even before the complexities added by Big Data, so many of them are drowning to keep up." (Forbes)

"When everything is known, will it become acceptable to discriminate against people based on data we have on their lives? We already use credit scoring to decide who can borrow money, and insurance is heavily data-driven. While Big Data helps businesses become better marketers and service providers, it can also allow them to discriminate.
There is currently a general acceptance by consumers that they are being analyzed and assessed in greater detail and the result of that is a better experience. But, what if all this insight makes it more difficult for some people to get the information or resources they need?" (Forbes)

Big Data - Watch!