The past year has been a difficult one for the perception of data, with hacks, negative interpretations from the media, and increased scepticism of the information held by many companies. This isn’t a surprise, it is no secret that something that changes society in such a profound way is going to have considerable backlash. Think about the industrial revolution and the riots surrounding that a century ago.
However, we have seen data do some amazing things, from landing a space ship on a comet, through to increasing crop yields for farmers.
The truth is that the success of big data has allowed some to take advantage of its success, after all the job losses from manufacturing across the world which has been the leading cause of rising nationalism, is largely down to data-driven automation. The increased data collection by governments has also become possible through fairly standard data collection programs used by many companies.
However, this is the same as any other major breakthrough in society, we just need to balance out the positives and negatives. Much of the perception of data comes down to where you stand on specific subjects and it has caused some divides.
For instance was the leaking of DNC emails exposing bad practices or undermiming democracy? In many ways it is the same as clean energy, some see it as destroying jobs, erecting ugly wind turbines, and putting unnecessary taxes on people. Others see it as a positive move, taking our world away from polluting fuels and saving it from global warming.
With logic and an admission that there will be growing pains, the clean energy sector has largely won out despite what some would have you think. However, this has not yet passed with big data and the jury is still out. It is up to us as a community built around the use of data to make similar, data, fact, and case study led examples of why we are making the world a better place.
At present we are losing the narrative as the negatives of data usage make the headlines, whilst the positives barely get a mention.
Unless we do, the data-driven future we all see the potential for could be further off than we think.
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