of the Aspen Institute comes The Promise and Peril of Big Data, on the challenges posed by large databases. The Internet is presently estimated to hold five hundred billion gigabytes of data, and even larger measures of terabytes or petabytes are being used.
The explosion of mobile networks, cloud computing and new technologies has given rise to incomprehensibly large worlds of information, often described as "Big Data."Big Data's massive analytical ability raises such issues as:
(W)hat are the ethical considerations of governments or businesses using Big Data to target people without their knowledge? Does the ability to analyze massive amounts of data change the nature of scientific methodology? Does Big Data represent an evolution of knowledge, or is more actually less when it comes to information on such scales?The report covers "making sense" of Big Data, the business and social implications, its relation to health care, and addressing abuses. It is a product of the 18th Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology, held Aug. 4-7, 2009.
The Promise and Peril of Big Data (pdf, 66pp/356kB), Jan. 2010