We've been hearing a lot about the power of "big data" and how harnessing the increasing amount of data being compiled about individuals can change the way we live. But are there limits to what we can learn from data?
Our species can't seem to escape big data. We have more data inputs, storage, and computing resources than ever, so Homo sapiens naturally does what it has always done when given new tools: It goes even bigger, higher, and bolder.
We did it in buildings and now we're doing it in data. Sure, big data is a powerful lens -- some would even argue a liberating one -- for looking at our world. Despite its limitations and requirements, crunching big numbers can help us learn a lot about ourselves.
But no matter how big that data is or what insights we glean from it, it is still just a snapshot: a moment in time. That's why I think we need to stop getting stuck only on big data and start thinking about long data.
Arbesman will join The Daily Circuit Monday Feb. 25 to talk about data.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BIG DATA:
Stop hyping big data and start paying attention to 'long data' (Wired)
Big data: Mind the gaps (Boston Globe)
The age of big data (CNBC)