The data revolution is perhaps arguable the most relevant revolution to our modern age that we have heard about in a lecture yet. In this lecture by Aaron Hanlon we learn about the insane growing amount of data we now have available to us on the internet and we learn about how we can use this data to research and study things that we have never before been able to study. Even members of our college community are researching topics that would not be remotely possible without this data revolution and without this massive availability of data. Without this revolution, much of this research would not even be thought about or considered a viable research option, because much of our studies would be based in theory.
In Latin, data transfers to “a thing given,” and all facts are truly determined by data and are the results of sets of data. This clearly represents the importance of data in our modern society, and it can clearly show us how the use of data in our modern society is now truly a tool. The origin of data in relation to science and information in general is very clearly shown when examining the Scientific Revolution and how during that time no scientists could just come out with explanations for things based on their assumptions alone, but, instead they needed to justify their claims with data. In this way the history of data can be traced back to the 17th century but in this time data was defined more as the literal Latin meaning of “a thing given” then our modern understanding of data as massive tables of numbers and statistics.
Professor Hanlon taught us in his lecture that once the technological and epistemological methods of codifying data became big is when is is considered revolutionary. This basically means that once information became datafied, then all the understanding of information because heavily codified. This means that data, even in its origins, was always visual and this is shown by Hooke’s Micrographia. In this Hooke showed how images were much better than words at describing scientific knowledge, because in his book it allowed for people to see the up close pictures of the flies under the microscope instead of just merely relying on peoples word to attempt to understand.
Is this visual representation of data still the most effective way to show the evidence of science for people to understand? Perhaps not because now for the most part, data is no longer visual in terms of actual images, but instead involves purely quantifiable and measurable figures like numbers. Although these are often laid out in visual diagrams, such as graphs, there is clearly a much bigger reliance on numbers and statistics in our modern age, and in order for someone to truly believe something is accurate or factual, it generally has to involve data in this quantifiable form.
It is clear that big data has furthered our ability to study many topics and has allowed us to research things we never could have imagined researching before, but there is still room for improvement, and if we could manage to effectively organize this “big data” then the possibilities for study and research and truly endless and this could completely open up our understanding of many ideas. This basically means that the revolution in big data is not over, and that as we continue to develop as humans, and as we continue to improve our collection of big data, we will continue to discover endless possibilities of research in our data.