Book Review - "Big Data - A Revolution" by V. Mayer-Schoenberger & K. Cukier
February 13, 2014
"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.shelfari.com)
The book illustrates in a very understandable way the current trend of accumulating, managing and analysing so called Big Data. Those data sets can be for instance found in retail sales data, loyalty card customer data, social media data etc. Big Data analytics then tries to combine all those data set and illustrate correlations between them to make decision making processes more data driven. In this process, "Knowing what not why is good enough", "Big data is a resource and tool" that "is meant to inform us rather to explain" is one of the most important guiding principles illustrated in the book. Trying to have a 99% quality rate of data is, considering the immense data sets, nearly impossible.
Throughout the book practical examples illustrate the very technical aspect of Big Data and hence it is a great introduction read into the world of big data that also sheds some light on risks to anyone of us.
Recommendation: If you are interested in current developments in data management, def. recommended to read!