Friday, May 16, 2014

Big Data: It's Not the Size That Matters

Over a year ago, Ari Gesher asked me to sit on a panel at Georgetown Law called "Swimming in the Ocean of Big Data".  After I agreed to it, he sprung on me that being on the panel required me to write 10,000 words for their journal.  So, it finally arrived physically on my desk today (they sent me actual paper copies, how quaint!).  You can find it here.  The editor's abstract:

In this article, the author argues that the premise of “big data” lies not in the amount of data that we can generate, collect or store, but in the ability to use data to make informed decisions. He explores both the needs of data analysis projects and how to apply these types of projects to real-world circumstances. The article concludes that whatever data systems are ultimately put in place, privacy and civil liberties should be a primary concern and not simply an afterthought; the author proposes methods that can be implemented during the design of big data programs in order to curtail privacy violations.

The academic in me finds it hard not to be proud that I have another publication to my name, but the reformed-academic-turned-engineer in me knows that publications are a poor substitute for Actually Doing Things That Make a Difference.  Nice to have it both ways for once.