Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big Data Meet Long Data

In a recent Wired article, Stop Hyping Big Data and Start Paying Attention to Long Data
 applied mathematician and network scientist Samuel Arbesman argues that big data, as its commonly defined today, lacks historical context.
"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," Arbesman wrote.
Indeed, historical data certainly has a lot to teach humankind in general, not just businesses hoping to sell more widgets. What we need to focus on is "long data" -- information with a "massive historical sweep" that holds "tremendous potential for learning about ourselves," Arbesman wrote.