Big Data and the Case for Optimism

Futurist Peter Diamandis gave an inspiring TED-talk in 2012, making the case for optimism in our world — that we’ll harness technology and continue to invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. If you’re not familiar with the technological singularity (aka, the singularity), it’s a theoretical moment in time when artificial intelligence will reach the point of surpassing the intelligence of the collective human species. Supposedly this will radically change human civilization, and “perhaps even human nature itself.”

To expand a little bit further on how the singularity might come about, take Moore’s Law into consideration. Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles about every two years. In laymen’s terms, technology is getting better and more powerful at a staggering exponential rate, which leads some people believe there will be a period where progress in technology occurs almost instantly.

singularity graphic Big Data and the Case for Optimism

How does all this factor into the future of Big Data and manufacturing? Technology is becoming cheaper and more accessible. Faster computers build faster computers, bringing in more data through the process. Basically, we’re not moving backwards. Manufacturers are realizing that making decisions on gut instincts simply won’t get the job done in the most efficient way possible. Because of technology, businesses can measure operations, interactions with customers, human resources, supply chain relationships, and more with complete accuracy.

But what good is all this meaningful data without a way to harness it and use it to your advantage? The nature of Big Data itself is just that: big data (or data too large to process through traditional methods) — but the fact is organizations that use Big Data to replace guesswork are those that become significantly more profitable than their competitors.

Stay tuned for part two of this post series, where we’ll go into a specific case study on how leveraging Big Data worked to a company’s advantage. (Sneak peek: How Big Data Transformed the Dairy Industry! Moo.)

Rhea Somaney is the community manager at Infochimps, a CSC Big Data Business, and the newest chimp to join the team. She has followed her passion for technology throughout her career, working previously for tech startups like BlackLocus and Main Street Hub. When she’s not working, you can probably find Rhea watching movies, exploring the Austin food scene, or trying to finish one of the many books on her To-Read list.

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