Big Data: The Beauty or the Beast
Strategica: Management, Finance, and Ethics, p. 823, 2014
21 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2015
Date Written: October 3, 2014
Big Data is a phenomenon that has been made possible by the IT and the social media revolutions - where content is created or generated by users and their interaction, at the same time with the exponential increase of the data storage capacity, according to the Moore’s law. It has been a long-time dream of social scientists to investigate an issue of importance for large groups of people where n - the number of the investigated subjects - is not determined by some statistical complex formula, but rather by mentioning n=all. This would allow for better results, with wider applicability in the attempts to understand the society, its trends, ideas and how they propagate, as well as the capacity of taking more efficient decisions that concern purchase, education, health and politics. But what are the costs? Our paper aims at looking at means and ways through which Big Data is being generated, to provide examples of Big Data ownership and consequences derived from this, and to illustrate the use of Big Data for improving the life of the society’s members. We define the Big Data, how it is generated, processed and the degrees of responsibility in maneuvering such precious resource. At the same time, our focus is on the backside of accumulating large amounts of personal information. We evaluate how and if major companies are handling Big Data properly - from disclosing information about gathering such data, processing it and using it to their own profit, with the informed consent of the subjects. In our research we discuss potential implications from the perspective of redefining what personal and private still means when individual data becomes a commodity.
Keywords: Big Data, data analysis, privacy, business ethics
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