A timely big data reality check
The reams of data that many modern businesses collect—dubbed "big data"—can provide powerful insights. It is the key to Netflix's recommendation engines, Facebook's social ads, and even Amazon's methods for speeding up the new Web browser, Silk, which comes with its new Fire tablet.
But big data is like any powerful tool. Using it carelessly can have dangerous results.
A new paper presented at a recent Symposium on the Dynamics of the Internet and Society spells out the reasons that businesses and academics should proceed with caution. While privacy invasions—both deliberate and accidental—are obvious issues, the paper also warns that data can easily be incomplete and distorted.