Opinions

Accidental Meeting With 'Big Data'
Friday, September 23, 2016 4:41:47 PM

Fuelled by the desire to plunge into British Literature, I started craving for a Shakespearean classic. Products on websites are available handy these days, I logged into my Amazon account which knows my taste of books more than I know about myself. While sifting through a number of attractive discounts and packages, I finally found the one that came with best deal. However, having had a long day…

A huge apparition, shaped like and somewhat resembling a human being, who certainly wasn’t recorded in my mind’s database of contacts for as long as I could recall, entered in my room and sat next to me. Astonished and a bit nervous, I somehow collected my courage to ask him who he was.

“I am big data” He said.

Suddenly unnerved, I struggled to pick every point stuck in the corners of my mind to tell him that I have heard the name somewhere, but then I realized I didn’t remember where.

“I am the most impactful yet hidden aspect of humankind’s technology today. Everything you do, from buying The Bard’s book to liking a page on Facebook and even the taxes you pay is embedded in my memory.

“Did you know”, he went on, “From the birth of civilization till 2003, five Exabytes of data was collected but now that number has kept multiplying over and over, every day. You humans surprisingly produce five Exabyte of data every two days. I am but just a manifestation of that data, and am responsible for making good use of it.”

Still trying to understand in a state of bafflement, I asked “Can you please elaborate further?”

“Suppose you click a picture on Instagram, share it on Facebook and other social networking websites as well, where do you think the data goes? It all becomes me, child. Your usage patterns of the website is but just a subset of me. Likewise, when you buy something or fill an online form, you leave digital traces. And these traces, registered in me can be used for myriad purposes. Ranging from analyzing the patterns of your interests and sentiments to predicting how likely your information can be used by cyberspace criminals, I am a multi tasker. In an era where everything comes with the ‘smart’ prefix, I thought of affixing the term ‘Big’ instead.

Finally, his words started making sense to me. I was happy about my better understanding of the being himself, but was terrified of him as well.

But sans adventure, life becomes boring.

What else could he teach me?  “A lot more“ were the only words resonating in my mind to let the discussion go on.  So, I decided not to worry and instead continue the conversation.

“Where’s the proof that we are creating this massive amount of data, as you say?”

“For this, I would recommend that you search how much usage data the Internet produces every minute of the day. People love me, they keep updating the figures. Once I leave, you’ll be happy to read about it”

 

I didn’t know what made me happy, the fact that he’d leave soon or the excitement that I’ll look at these amazing new figures myself. Whatever the reason may be, I wanted to talk more about it.

“Tell me more about it”

“All kinds of data, no matter what the volume, velocity, variety or veracity, stored in me via every imaginable platform, ranging from sensor data, social networking websites, voice messages, GPS systems, blogs, videos, internet searches and even food production and consumption patterns, healthcare information and even sentiment analysis converts into value. You would ask me how. Everything that you do is followed by a pattern that is analyzed by the different platforms that I have viz. oracle, SAP, Datameer, Hadoop, Teradata and many more in the making. Right now, these are used mostly in the IT sector. But as I get functional in other sectors, I will do wonders. This was it.

Now you can order the package you were going to buy. But your preferences have changed over the last 10 times that you ordered……”

And he could tell every book I ordered and even saw while selecting on the same site. More questions crept into my mind, but the moment I looked at my right to ask, he had vanished. To my amazement. I was alive.

Perplexed by the thought of happenings around me, I opened my eyes looking blankly at the desktop monitor flashing the time left to buy the book I had selected. And I was awestruck for the next 10 minutes.

Coming back from my benumbed senses, all I could do was search for the increasing data.

It was when I came to know the massive amount of data that the world produced every minute. 48 hours of video uploaded on YouTube, 204,166,667 mails sent, 684478 user content units shared on Facebook every minute, 100,000 tweets and a lot more. The figures of 1.0 dropped a bombshell on my mind and then I compared the version 1.0 with the latest 4.0.

Increase in population is something we’re aware of, but the ever increasing figures in data volumes were something I couldn’t comprehend for a moment. The increase in the figures from 48 to 400 hours of video uploading on YouTube and 216,302 shared on Facebook messenger every minute was more terrifying than shocking.  I would definitely be mindful about how much I contribute into the account of my huge friend while posting a picture or sending a mail in the future.

Every meeting is an opportunity they say. This accidental meeting with the BIG DATA itself was nothing less than a golden chance. Illusion, it maybe. But the habit of reading while searching something else and creating imaginary characters is never going to fail for me. The people stored in sub conscious mind can help a lot, I understood that day.