A New York Times bestseller. Longlisted for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.
Since Aristotle, we have fought to understand the causes behind everything. But this ideology is fading. In the age of big data, we can crunch an incomprehensible amount of information, providing us with invaluable insights about the what rather than the why.
We're just starting to reap the benefits: tracking vital signs to foresee deadly infections, predicting building fires, anticipating the best moment to buy a plane ticket, seeing inflation in real time and monitoring social media in order to identify trends. But there is a dark side to big data. Will it be machines, rather than people, that make the decisions? How do you regulate an algorithm? What will happen to privacy? Will individuals be punished for acts they have yet to commit?
In this groundbreaking and fascinating book, two of the world's most-respected data experts reveal the reality of a big data world and outline clear and actionable steps that will equip the reader with the tools needed for this next phase of human evolution.
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University, following a decade on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School. He is one of the most respected authorities on what is happening in the big data arena. His book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, is considered a seminal work on the ever-presence of data.
'Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren't, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can't. Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks' — Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody
'Every decade, there are a handful of books that change the way you look at everything. This is one of those books. Society has begun to reckon the change that big data will bring. This book is an incredibly important start' — Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of Remix and Free Culture
'An optimistic and practical look at the big data revolution - just the thing to get your head around the big changes already underway and the bigger changes to come' — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
'In Big Data, Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier break new ground in identifying how today's avalanche of information fundamentally shifts our basic understanding of the world. Argued boldly and written beautifully, the book clearly shows how companies can unlock value, how policymakers need to be on guard, and how everyone's cognitive models need to change' — Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
'This brilliant book cuts through the mystery and the hype surrounding big data. A must-read for anyone in business, information technology, public policy, intelligence, and medicine. And anyone else who is just plain curious about the future' — John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp. and head of Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre
'The book teems with great insights on the new ways of harnessing information, and offers a convincing vision of the future. It is essential reading for anyone who uses - or is affected by - big data' — Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow & Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics
'Big Data is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay ahead of one of the key trends defining the future of business' — Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com
An excellent primer — Financial Times
Fascinating — Observer
Raises profound questions — Evening Standard
An elegant and readable primer — New Scientist
Viktor Mayer-Schonberger is at Oxford, Kenneth Cukier is at The Economist and together they make a great team. They haven't just identified a new trend. They also understand double-edged swords. Much of their book goes into how, possibly to regulate Big Data, when most of our legal system, so far, has no awareness of the significance of the 'excess' data we slough off in such vast quantities — Literary Review
Informative . . . Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier make interesting observations about data-crunching techniques — Guardian