In Aaron Hanlon’s presentation “Revolutions in Data, Big and Little”, Hanlon discussed the development of big data, and its relationship with advancements in technology. The concept of big data has emerged not only in scientific research, but also across a variety of disciplines.  Moreover, with this big data, visual representations are crucial for comprehending the big picture and making information accessible to many populations. However, now that data has transformed to big data, what does this mean?


With the rise of the Internet, we have been quickly termed “the information age”. As Hanlon highlighted, big data has become visual, and this combined with the Internet’s accessibility in developed nations makes this data, and its meaning, more available and widespread. With this in mind, data’s importance for understanding daily issues and probable solutions has increased. Rather than go on intuition or point to religion, citizens of developed nations are beginning to turn to research. There are many future directions of these implications. Will the importance of data spread to developing and underdeveloped countries? It is reasonable to hypothesize this will occur soon for developing nations, as Internet is rapidly becoming more accessible. Underdeveloped nations also have potential, but given their ongoing statuses, I predict it will be longer for this rapid shift.


However, what does this shift towards depending on data mean? There are many issues with it, as data can be done incorrectly, and even if it is disproven its implications persist. For example, the statistic stating one in four (or five) women will be sexually assaulted on college campuses in the United States has been disproven countless times and somebody with a basic knowledge of statistics can read it and decipher where these well-intended researchers went wrong. However, despite studies retesting and disproving the one in four (or five) the meanings hold. This brings up an important necessity: Knowledge in data interpretation and questioning. Statistics has seen a rise in recent years, and it is crucial to educate future generations about how to interpret research and know when false meanings, or bad research, is being presented to them.


Despite this important concern, data provides wonderful insight. Despite depending on housewives tales, people can look at data and, most of the time, can make better, more informative decisions. It will be intriguing to see the continuation and expansion of big data, particularly with social media’s growing dominance in its presentation and the increasing role developing nations will play.