Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Web Secret #245: Big Data

After one of my kids dropped her smartphone in the toilet, she easily downloaded all of her saved data from the cloud onto her new phone. Nothing was lost, and the process took just a few minutes. That's the benefit of cloud computing.

Remember hearing about cloud computing for the first time? Initially, I didn't have a clue what those two words meant. Neither does Amy Poehler:

But now it is completely familiar to me. I know it's the virtual space where the songs, photos, videos, e-mails and games from my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro are backed up.

Since nothing changes as fast as technology, I had to learn a new term: Big Data.

I leave it to the smart folks at IBM to explain the concept:
Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data.
Another article explains how Big Data comes to be, well, Big Data:
We are... not limited here to text data; big data can include video, audio, and images too...In a month, a teen will text, on average, 4,732 times. In a day, two billion YouTube videos are watched and four billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook—about half of those pieces by [just] a couple [of people} alone...
What is the relevance to those of us who work in the mental health/EAP fields? We can expect that in the next few years Big Data methodologies will be used, on a grand scale, to analyze admissions to rehab facilities, relationships between medications prescribed and diagnoses, and all kinds of data that I can barely wrap my mind around.

From all of this analysis will come recommendations for new treatments, new drugs, and countless other changes.

Care to learn more? There is now a peer-reviewed journal called Big Data.

The first issue is free.

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