Glass is Half Full – Stop the Big Data Naysayer!


Boy is it getting tedious, almost every press interview I do on Big Data starts with, “Aren’t the dangers associated with Big Data too big to overcome?” Really, talk about glass half empty!

I start my standard answer, “Do you remember when you would never let your children onto the Internet?” Need I say more!


Then I ask some of these questions, Wouldn’t you like to…

–          know you are buying at the best price?
–          eating the correct foods, maybe in the correct serving sizes?
–          have all the available information to make the best decision?
–          be serviced as an individual?
–          have your doctor make a diagnosis armed with the latest research, your
history, your genetic makeup and your lifestyle choices?
–          have your mechanic tune your car for the way you drive!
–          etc…

“Yes but you can’t trust large institutions not to target you, haven’t you heard about the Target-pregnant teenager story?”

Well let’s understand that, did Target do something wrong by offering discounted products to women that needed them?  I’m just wondering how many of those women walked into the store and insisted on paying full price for those items? I’m sure that no one would object to getting an offer for something that they are interested in at that point in time, would you?

Then there are the big bad banks. In fact EMC is providing a technology called Silvertail, (here), that tracks your every click on-line and works out how you behave. Scary isn’t it? Well no it isn’t, because if someone logs on as me and does not behave as me, then the technology shuts down the transaction and protects me. I like that idea that the technology is basing its assessment on the way I behave, rather than some generic model of what a ‘good’ person does. (Not saying that I’m weird, just an individual.)

Finally, you do know that your Telco knows who you are calling don’t you? In-fact some of these companies are analysing this data to see where they should place their infrastructure to improve call quality, improve their plans to attract more users like you. Perhaps even recognize me as a loyal customer and not treat me like every other person that they talk to!

In summary big data is changing the way we work, live and play.. for the better. Not only that the results of big data projects EMC’s customers have done have always been a win-win. This is not a zero sum game this is lower prices and better products and services!


2 responses to “Glass is Half Full – Stop the Big Data Naysayer!

  1. Big data is not the concern. The problem is the misapplication and misleading claims by some in the big data industry who claim the ability to do the impossible…namely, predict the future.

  2. Thanks for the comment Naysayer,
    I like you are skeptical, especially when it comes to things that cannot be explained logically, like predicting the future. So would you accept that Big Data can help us detect repeating patterns in the data, and if we detect the pattern again, there is a high likelihood that the same result will be experienced? For example at EMC we are collecting the data that is available within our Exchange environment and correlating this to the help-desk incidents. The learning algorithm is detecting patterns that are then allowing us to ‘predict’ failures before they happen, as a pattern is being repeated. Does this predict 100% of the issues 100% of the time, NO.. but it does provide a high correlation on about 40% of the issues before they happen.
    The analogy I give is that once you are an experienced driver, sometimes you see a car and you know they are about to change lanes without looking or letting you know. Its just recognizing that pattern that you’ve seen before and expecting the same result.

    What do you think?

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