Big data knows where you've been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you'll buy, where you'll be the victim of crime and when you'll have a heart attack. Big data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims.
But how well do you know big data? You've probably seen the phrase in newspaper headlines, at work in a marketing meeting, or on a fitness-tracking gadget. But can you understand it without being a Silicon Valley nerd who writes computer programs for fun? Yes. Yes, you can.
Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programmes she makes are on the radio. Starting with the basics - what is data? And what makes it big? - Timandra takes you on a whirlwind tour of how people are using big data today: from science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things. Finally, she asks the big questions about where it's taking us: is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? Will this book be full of rhetorical questions?
No. It also contains puns, asides, unlikely stories, engaging people, inspiring feats and thought-provoking dilemmas, leaving you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade's big ideas: big data.
©2016 Timandra Harkness (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
This is an engaging, informative & highly engaging introduction to Big Data and its myriad applications - from monitoring your partner's whereabouts to predicting crime
Harkness also provides a great history of the development of data, ranging from the rise of the census through to its abuse in the name of eugenics (and speculates on some of the contemporary risks of looking to 'the evidence' to solve all political problems
Anyone familiar with her Radio 4 programmes (Human Zoo or Futureproofing) or science stand-up will be familiar with Harkness' easy-going delivery and humorous approach to complex subjects, illuminating technical topics without dumbing down & providing plenty of philosophical and critical analysis
Highly recommended to anyone trying to grapple with one of the great buzzwords of our time or anyone familiar with topic seeking a more sceptical viewpoint
I've often wondered about "big data". What if means, what people are doing with it, what the limitations are. If you're off the same mind then this is a fabulous introduction to a huge topic.
I love the author's internal style and it feels almost like you're just having a chat. If that was the intention then it was well placed and succeeded very well. I shall be looking into more about this exciting area. Many thanks.
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