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Big data: the gold mine waiting to be mined

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By Archana Arakkal, Synthesis Lead Machine Learning Engineer

The longer I am in the technology industry the more I realise that big data is an area that has not been well explored; the capabilities and potential are infinite, however why has this not been explored?

Traditionally, machine learning and AI have been preceded with commentary on robots taking over the world and humans becoming imprisoned by their thoughts. However, over time we have realised (and are still in the process of realising) that using these concepts is merely a means to complementing human skills as well as to taking humanity to the next level. So the question remains: why have these technologies not been exploited? The answer lies in big data.

The question you might be asking yourself is what big data has to do with using machine learning and AI. What is big data? The term is loosely used to categorise and analyse large amounts of data that has traditionally been impossible to analyse due to the sheer amounts of computation and processing that is necessary. With the radical advancements that have been made in fields such as AI, machine learning and general computation, this problem does not exist anymore.

I have however still not answered the question of how big data can allow us to leverage off my machine learning and AI capabilities. Take a normal household, for example, let’s imagine that on a day-to-day basis you are trying to manage your grocery list. You are trying to understand what patterns lie in the consumption of your groceries in order to anticipate when you will need to make your next grocery run. Similar to this, every single household in your neighbourhood is trying to understand what their grocery patterns look like and even further to that, the entire province is trying to understand these patterns in order to ensure that the grocery stores can be sustainable enough to manage the demands of the region. This is where the true capability of big data can be addressed. Imagine that your regional grocery store provider has been able to tap into these data pools by leveraging a chatbot that you, as an individual, may communicate with to understand your spend. The next step would be that they would be able to understand what your spending and grocery cycles are and after that … the doorbell rings and there are your groceries waiting for you at your doorstep, even before you could begin stressing about supper. Technology to promote human efficiency.

This is one small example of how big data can be utilised by truly understanding our surroundings and human beings. As a human race, we can start to revolutionise who we are. Preventative medicine is one such area – by utilising big data we can begin understanding and preventing medical conditions even before they occur, and this is one of the many reasons why big data is the gold mine waiting to be mined.

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