Currently Viewing: Big Data

 

Ever since the Luddites protested against the mechanization of textile industry in the early 19th century, people have feared that technology will dehumanize the workplace. And in some ways, of course, it has.

IT industry analysts are typically gung-ho about the potential of the Internet of Things to transform business and society, with lofty predictions of exponential growth.

Can computers put some pizazz into our presentations? On past evidence, you might not think so. The phrase “death by PowerPoint” hasn’t become a business cliché for nothing.

How many times have you heard that big data analytics is set to revolutionize the world? If you read IT blogs, the technology press or attend industry expos and conferences, chances are the answer is countless times.

In March 2016, AlphaGo – an artificial intelligence (AI) program developed by Google DeepMind – beat the world Go champion Lee Sedol 4-1 in a five-match challenge. The news sparked the same flurry of public fear and fascination that previously met IBM’s AI system Watson’s triumph in the US TV quiz show Jeopardy in 2011, as well as its supercomputer Deep Blue’s victory over chess champion Garry Kasparov back in 1997.

We often hear stories about how big data analytics is going to help companies accrue untold wealth. This month, however, the headlines have been dominated by revelations about how the rich and powerful attempt to hide their wealth from the world’s tax collectors.

 

We’re used to the idea that every two years computer processors double in speed and fall in cost – a prediction first made by Gordon Moore, then head of Intel, in 1965. For 40 years, what’s become universally known as ‘Moore’s Law’ has held true, fueling the phenomenal growth in IT that has transformed our world. But Moore’s observation was not the eternal, immutable ‘law’ that many assumed it to be. There’s a physical limit to how many transistors you can squeeze onto a wafer of silicon before they start behaving unpredictably.

Most coverage of the Internet of Things (IoT) centers around the proliferation of connected consumer gadgets – personal and home appliances such as security cameras, thermostats, smart lighting systems, health and fitness monitoring devices. But one area that’s set to feel the biggest impact of the technology is manufacturing.