Big Data, Digitization, and Social Change (Ubiquity Symposium)

Johnson, Jeffrey; Denning, Peter; Sousa-Rodrigues, David and Delic, Kemal A. (2017). Big Data, Digitization, and Social Change (Ubiquity Symposium). In: Ubiquity, ACM, 2017, article no. 1.




The term “big data” is something of a misnomer. Every generation of computers since the 1950s has been confronted with problems where data was way too large for the memory and processing power available. This seemed like an inconvenience of the technology that would someday be resolved when the next generation of computers came along. So what is different about big data today? The revolution is happening at the convergence of two trends: the expansion of the internet into billions of computing devices, and the digitization of almost everything. The internet gives us access to vast amounts of data. Digitization creates digital representations for many things once thought to be beyond the reach of computing technology. The result is an explosion of innovation of network-based big data applications and the automation of cognitive tasks. This revolution is introducing what Brynjolfsson and McAfee call the “Second Machine Age.” This symposium will examine this revolution from a number of angles.

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