The History, Present and Future of “Big Data”

How is it that we have such a society that is so driven off of information and technology, and what do we have to look forward to in the future?

That is the Question.

Forbes.com did an detailed overview of this topic and I have to say that it was pretty informative. This pass week, the man who invented the first revolutionary piece of IT that lead to the digital world and physical world working together as a co-existence passed away. His name was Norman Joseph Woodland, the co-inventor of the bar code,  and was 91 years old.

Forbes.com states: ….one day in 1949 when Woodland was sitting on a Floridabeach, thinking about how product information can be captured at the supermarket checkout. The only code Woodland knew was the Morse Code he’d learned in the Boy Scouts, his daughter told the Associated Press this week. Woodland drew Morse dots and dashes as he sat on the beach and absent-mindedly left his fingers in the sand where they traced a series of parallel lines. “It was a moment of inspiration. He said, ‘instead of dots and dashes I can have thick and thin bars,’” Susan Woodland recalled.

These humble beginnings lead to the foundation of the revolution known now as the world of information technology. Forbes cited that forty years later, the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee was invented ,which has given us the possibilities for economic transactions and ventures based on data that we have now.

Now fast forward to the day and age we live in now and the two big impacts that are happening now are mobile technology, and the huge internet database known as Google. With mobile technology from companies like Samsung, Apple, Blackberry, etc., we are now able to access information anytime, any place, anywhere.

With Google exploding to what it has become, information has grown exponentially.

Forbes also stated: To merge the physical and virtual worlds, Google moved from analyzing the links between documents (Web pages) to analyzing the links between data (Web “entities”). In 2010, it acquired Metaweb Technologies and started expanding the latter’s semantic database, Freebase, to “approximate the way humans understand the world.” Today, it’s “a human-curated encyclopedia of verified facts about things in the world and relationships between them—more than 570 million things and 3.5 billion relationships, at last count.”

Cloud space technology is now the main focus in our journey of technological growth, and the possibilities seem endless.

With these things in mind Forbes as well as other classes that I have taken at the University of Michigan agree that the future of information technology has some great benefits that exist now, and more that are still too come for mankind. However there are challenges to come with it just like anything else.

The National Intelligence Council stated that:

“Information technology is entering the big data era. Process power and data storage are becoming almost free; networks and the cloud will provide global access and pervasive services; social media and cybersecurity will be large new markets. This growth and diffusion will present significant challenges for governments and societies, which must find ways to capture the benefits of new IT technologies while dealing with the new threats that those technologies present. Fear of the growth of an Orwellian surveillance state may lead citizens particularly in the developed world to pressure their governments to restrict or dismantle big data systems.”

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One Response to The History, Present and Future of “Big Data”

  1. mattpuls says:

    It is interesting to think of the example of the bar code as a progress mark for the integration of technology in the physical world. Something as seemingly simple as a readable code allows for so many uses and an evolution of the actual scope of technology. It is exciting to think of the broadening of the scope of technology and how it may be integrated into our lives. With big data entering the scope, new ideas come to mind of where technology could lead us: huge databases that can be used to predict potential actions, data delivered in ways that we never thought were possible.
    The next example of cell phones just illustrates how far technology can come in such a short time. The leveraging of big data may be the next sort of paradigm in technology that sees it being used in ways that I can’t even imagine today.

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