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Big Data

Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schonberger

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.

About the author:
Kenneth Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist, following a decade on the paper as a business and technology writer, and foreign correspondent (most recently as the Tokyo correspondent in 2007-12). Previously, he was the Technology Editor of the Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong, and worked at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. From 2002-04 he was a research fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of directors of International Bridges to Justice, a nonprofit organization that promotes legal rights in developing countries.

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