From a searing USAToday report on How Big Data Has Changed Your Life.
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, says that humankind produces about the same amount of data in two days that it took from the dawn of civilization until 2003 to create. And, as he points out, the pace is accelerating.
Tell you what. I’ll take everything that humankind produced before 2003 and you can have everything since 2003 that Big Data produced.
I’ve spent my adult life with data, information, and numbers combined with analysis, synthesis, and theory. I get symbolic processing. But the number is not the thing. And unless you understand the rules that link numbers to things, Big Data simply makes it easier to fool yourself.
You can understand human civilization as a constant exploration of the rules that link numbers with things and realize that simply because you have gigabytes or terabytes instead of kilobytes or just scribes scratching reeds on clay, it’s the rules, baby, that challenge us always.
And that’s the science part. The rest is just Fallen Apples.