Lions and Tigers and Big Data, Oh My!

I don’t know if there is anything as terrifying and convenient as Big Data. The fact that it can so easily track all of your internet habits and tailor your whole experience to you is probably one of the most helpful and scary things ever. First of all, I just want to mention that this is another way that we are all becoming lazy and too dependent on the internet. I appreciate that as a society we look for ways to make life more efficient and easier but I always have premonitions of America as overweight chair hogs. Will we really need to go anywhere other than our homes? With online delivery services for groceries, clothes, home decor and tools for socialization, school, work, will it even be necessary to leave our homes?

On the flip side, I love using Amazon to discover a new book based on what I have read previously. Before, I may just browse the site for hours looking for something based on reviews and story synopsis’. Now I can easily make a pick based on Amazon’s recommendation and I would say eight out of ten times it’s something I really enjoy. The extra time spent looking through the website is now used for something else.

Although Big Data has it’s pro’s…it is sort of terrifying to think that the Internet can so efficiently track all of our data, from one site to the next, where we live, what spots we frequent, what we ordered last time we were on our favorite coffee website. How will this data be used? Will our health insurance premiums go up because we choose to buy a bag of chips over an apple? Will we be targeted for commercials about Drunk Driving if Big Data sees we made a trip to the liquor store? These are just a few ways that Big Data may go too far, or may possibly be saving grace to some people.

When we had our pairings in class it was extremely interesting to see how Big Data has changed certain things from how they were. The trend I saw was that it made life easier. A great example was Finances in that you used to have to go to the bank to do transfers, report a card missing, address changes and deposit a check. Now, you can use one simple application in the comfort of your home.

Health and Fitness was another great example of how Big Data has made life easier… Much of my online prescriptions are done through an online delivery service that my Doctor sends all of my prescriptions to. This service notifies me when something needs to be filled and keeps a database of all of the prescriptions I’ve used in the past. For health, new technologies such as the FitBit or even Map My Run are great for tracking health information such as sleep patterns, how much activity you have logged throughout the day or what you have eaten. Before, you may have a good journal and may not know what your sleep pattern is.

Again, Big Data is extremely convenient and also terrifying. I love that it makes life easier but I do not know if I want something so meticulously tracking all of my information. With almost everything having some sort of technology to track, is it even possible to escape Big Data if you wanted to?


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