What data says about us

The world we have made is one that can be measured.

big data book cover

A heartbeat, a child's first word, a photograph, a phone call, a Facebook update -- all drops in a vast ocean of data. "Big" data, then, is something of a misnomer. It's colossal. From the beginning of recorded time until 2003, we created 5 billion gigabytes of data. In 2011 the same amount was created every two days. By 2013 that time will shrink to 10 minutes. So what are we learning from it all? Truths about our measured world and our measured selves. What follows is a look at both.

--The book from which this excerpt is drawn, The Human Face of Big Data, is created by Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt and sponsored by EMC, Cisco, FedEx, Originate, Tableau, and VMware.

Photographs from The Human Face of Big Data, to be published by Against All Odds Productions in November 2012.
- Last updated September 10 2012 06:07 PM ET
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