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Updated by Fusion 360 on Dec 02, 2014
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Arguments Against Big Data Analyzed

The term “big data” refers to large bodies of digital data that enable potentials that smaller amounts cannot. Processed by data extraction software, businesses, science teams and others are able to make new connections and analysis like never before.

Like most things new, there have been those critical of big data and its affordances.

It Fosters Unethical Business Practices

Argument: “Data extraction promotes bad behavior from companies.”

Response: Like most anything, a tool can be used for good or bad purposes. Harvesting some information from big data using what is called “data extraction” can be used unethically. These practices, however, are illegal and enforced by the law.

It Doesn’t Work

Argument: “Trying to analyze big data is proven to be inaccurate.”

Response: Most folks who make this statement are referring to the Google Flu Trends incident. In 2009, Google attempted to project flu cases and overestimated their findings. One incident does not reflect the validity of using big data in all instances. Moreover, there are innumerable cases where analysis of big data proved accurate.

Healthcare Discrimination

Argument: “Big data in the health sciences can lead to discrimination.”

Response: Analyzing mass quantities of health data will give insight into the human body like never before. However, there is the concern that cracking our genetic code may result in discrimination against those deemed predisposed to illness by insurance companies.

Under Obamacare, it is illegal for insurance companies to deny health insurance to the sick and thus the potentially sick as well.

Big Data Isn’t a Cure-All

Argument: “Big data cannot solve all problems.”

Response: Of course it can’t. Big data cannot magically fix the financial woes of a company nor can it, by itself, cure cancer. Big data is a resource. Using data extraction software to analyze and organize this data helps provide insight. Just because it isn’t a panacea doesn’t negate its worth.

It’s Just Hype

Argument: “Big data is just a new trendy topic. It won’t last.”

Response: Yes, big data is a hot topic right now. However, big data has been around for over a decade now and experts are still finding new uses for it.

Privacy Issues

Argument: “Big data gives governments and corporations access to our private information.”

Response: True, social media platforms like Facebook and downloadable apps have access to large quantities of what most would call private information. However, this information is more often than not benign and non-significant. Moreover, as society progresses into the (not far off) future, technology inevitably reduces our privacy more as we become more connected.

Big Data Can’t Replace Real Thinking

Argument: “Using data extraction to access massive quantities of data doesn’t mean anything if a human mind doesn’t use it.”

Response: This classic man vs. machine argument seems to sprout up with any new technology. The obvious answer is: no, it doesn’t. But, again, this does not devalue big data. It is still a fantastic resource for human minds to chew on.

Nowhere to Run

Argument: “With GPS data, governments and corporations can locate anyone, anywhere.”

Response: Though this 1984 dystopian outlook does warrant some concern, this is ultimately something that cannot be avoided. Again, with the advent of any new technologies, there are pros and cons. It’s societies job to try and ensure that these technologies aren’t misused.

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Mitchell Reber is a tech writer. Information provided by Mozenda. Mitchell writes for Fusion 360, an advertising agency in Utah. Find him on Google+

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