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Big Data for Development: From Information- to Knowledge Societies

Martin Hilbert

University of California, Davis

January 15, 2013

The article uses an established three-dimensional conceptual framework to systematically review literature and empirical evidence related to the prerequisites, opportunities, and threats of Big Data Analysis for international development. On the one hand, the advent of Big Data delivers the cost-effective prospect to improve decision-making in critical development areas such as health care, employment, economic productivity, crime and security, and natural disaster and resource management. This provides a wealth of opportunities for developing countries. On the other hand, all the well-known caveats of the Big Data debate, such as privacy concerns, interoperability challenges, and the almighty power of imperfect algorithms, are aggravated in developing countries by long-standing development challenges like lacking technological infrastructure and economic and human resource scarcity. This has the potential to result in a new kind of digital divide: a divide in data-based knowledge to inform intelligent decision-making. This shows that the exploration of data-based knowledge to improve development is not automatic and requires tailor-made policy choices that help to foster this emerging paradigm.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Big Data, development, developing countries, ICT4D, economic development, information and communication technology

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Date posted: January 22, 2013 ; Last revised: January 24, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hilbert, Martin, Big Data for Development: From Information- to Knowledge Societies (January 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2205145 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2205145

Contact Information

Martin Hilbert (Contact Author)
University of California, Davis ( email )
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
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