Skip to Content

Big Data and what it is we haven’t thought about

Menno van Doorn
November 23, 2012

If it was 2003 and you were looking forward, would you have predicted the iPhone, Cloud and Social Media? You probably would have missed at least one of them. Maybe even all of them. If you want to predict what the world will look like in 2020 from a technology point of view, you need to take into account that new technologies will emerge. During the interbellum of the two crises of the past decade ( and the crisis of 2008) we built the fundamentals of the post-pc economy. But in 2003 the newspapers headed “Old economy buys the new economy”. A lot of people were quite sure about the future: we’ll go back to normal. An interesting question for the future of Big Data is, “what is it we haven’t thought about”? What are we overlooking that might have a decisive role in the decade we live in. I don’t have the answer. Something I find interesting, but what is on the radar for a long time already, is the internet of things. Or “Things that talk back” as MIT Media Lab is coining it. A few weeks ago I was at the Media Lab and talked with professor Carlo Ratti. Here’s a video on a project started in 2009 of Trash Track. It’s about tagging garbage and follow where it goes. There are predictions that in 2020, 50 billion things are connected to the internet. But what will it mean when they are able to talk to us? What kind of understanding of the world will that give us? A funny coincidence was that some of the computers at the media lab got stolen. And these computers were tagged. Watch the video to see what happened: Bedsides the question what it could mean that things are becoming part of the Big Data reality, I’m really interested in your thoughts on what is it that we haven’t thought about? What’s of the radar that should be on?

About the author

Director and Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored many books on the impact of new technology on business and society.


    2 thoughts on “Big Data and what it is we haven’t thought about

    1. Everything already IS “data” or “information”. What we are missing, as far as I am concerned, is the understanding that, through quantum physics, it is becoming more and more obvious that out material world actually consists of bits and pieces of information, which, when brought together, in our minds conceptualize and materialize to what we percieve as “reality”.
      I am missing the pondering about the connection between what you state above (Things that talk back) and the human state of mind, which seems to be getting closer and closer together and what implications this would have from a philosophiocal point of view.

    2. Interesting point you make Michael. Are you inspired by Foucault? Luciano Floridi wrote The Fourth Revolution, based on how we think about ourselves and how technology influences that. Also very interesting.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Slide to submit