The availability of all kinds of new data will change the way most people do their jobs in the next ten years. The NYTime has a report on Big Data that points to the fundamental reason for this change: the capacity to measure many more things.

To grasp the potential impact of Big Data, look to the microscope, says Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. The microscope, invented four centuries ago, allowed people to see and measure things as never before — at the cellular level. It was a revolution in measurement.

Data measurement, Professor Brynjolfsson explains, is the modern equivalent of the microscope. Google searches, Facebook posts and Twitter messages, for example, make it possible to measure behavior and sentiment in fine detail and as it happens.

In business, economics and other fields, Professor Brynjolfsson says, decisions will increasingly be based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition. “We can start being a lot more scientific,” he observes.

A report last year by the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consulting firm, projected that the United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired.

The NYTimes report on the “Age of Big Data

Measuring the way consumers feel about a movie before its released with Twitter data analysis, evaluating a patients vital signs over the past six months using mobile phones and passive sensors, or evaluating where to stay when traveling abroad using friends anecdotes and aggregated data from the web each use new measurements to make better decisions.


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