Data, Big Data and a crazy train of thoughts!

Disclaimer: This is not a technical post at all. If you were looking for actual information on Big Data this post does not mean anything to you.

It’s been quite a while since I learnt anything new. I was casually going through job openings and was alarmed at the drastic increase in the number of Big Data openings and considerable decline in the number of traditional ETL roles (more specific to the companies I consider as Dream Companies). The whole world is catching up on Big Data while I am yet to take my first step. I finally was able to overcome the inertia and started signing up for some free courses online and started going through the youtube videos.

One such video had a usecase mentioned – collecting GPS data from the vehicles with the possibility of analyzing/mining the data to suggest best routes, best time to travel among others. This post is just to log my immediate throughts, nothing technical, about this.

Say, petabytes after peta bytes of GPS data of a particular city is captured. We then mine the data to understand it. As mentioned above, some of the possibilities include

– Predicting the peak traffic
– Live traffic conditions like accidents, fog, backlog etc
– Possible time delay to the target

This is already available. If you have Android you would have already noticed. Google suggests you when to start from home to work and whats the traffic condition. It scans your inbox for movie tickets, flight tickets etc and suggests when it’s time to start to the movies.

What are other possibilities? May be, these suggestions become orders in the future. The system tells you when you SHOULD start from home to work so that traffic runs smoothly. The focus might shift from how to beat the traffic and reach a place to how to plan your travel to maintain smooth traffic. The roads may then look like assembly lines in factories. With devices getting smarter and smarter and people getting dumber and dumber, it is highly likely that we would end up in such a situation few generations after (can’t help but get reminded of Total Recall for some reason)

Not just traffic GPS data but also data from your smart watchers, smart bands, and smart everything. Everybody and everything will be tracked. The data that we collect with the prime aim of monitoring and analysis may then be used for controlling the whole society. [ All the sci-fi movies zoom past. iRobot, Surrogates, Total recall etc etc]

A fitness band that tracks your sleeping pattern may come up with a small needle attached, which will just inject a serum and make you sleep when its time.
A smart band which monitors the number of steps that you walk everyday may force you to run on the spot if you are lagging behind the target steps – just by injecting a serum.
A rfid token could be embedded in your body there by tracking and controlling your movement – people eventually becoming puppets of powerful few.

It is obvious that the capability of Big Data and analytics is immense and it will impact the world positively. There are numerous opportunites in health care and research. But human mind is a human mind. It just focuses on the negative. May be that’s why we are trying to eliminate it? No! not the negative impact, I was talking about human mind.

Anyways, cheers to life till then.

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