Latest Commentary

Competition seeks innovative applications using big data from space

If you have an entrepreneurial streak, big data skills, and a startup dream, here's your chance to make it all happen. Go ahead, look at the sky and the stars and dream a big dream. Just be sure to also get your entry in by the deadline! 

Data from GPS mapping apps and smart city IoT needs re-purposing

At the moment, the world is focused on collecting data on just about everything and presenting it in useful visualizations. That's a good start, but it's only that, a basic beginning, the first lurching steps in the eventual march beyond a data-driven existence to a fully empowered human experience. It's time now for the big data industry to remember that the machines and data are not an end in themselves, and repurpose their uses to better reflect and improve the human condition.

Real-world training for data scientists on social projects

Real-world training is essential to mastering big data projects on the job. Too often, university training is far behind what the work world actually needs from employees. By taking this approach, data science students are much more likely to be able to hit the ground running in their new jobs – and society benefits from these efforts too. It's a win all around.

What a single-celled organism teaches us about the likely evolution of machine learning

The results of the experiment sheds light on the origin of learning and the adaptability in non-neural organisms not related to evolution. Perhaps it also has some implications for the evolution of machine learning.

When data gets deliberately polluted by consumers, what will happen to big data projects?

The day is coming when being able to sort these things out becomes paramount. Best to think about it now than to wait and find your projects derailed or, find yourself pegged as neatly as an insect to a collector's board.

Event: Tips for journalists in finding the truth in big data

I'm hoping you'll join me at the Excellence in Journalism event where I'll be on the panel discussing tips and tools for journalists and editors in finding the truth in big data. Like all industries, journalism is data-driven these days. But also like other industries, many professionals are still struggling to master big data tools. We panelists will be focused on sharing specific and useful information with leading journalists on perfecting their big data skills, selecting data sources, and picking big data tools.

States prepare to take up consumer data privacy fight

At issue were "unfair business practices" which covers the gamut from price discrimination, redlining and identity theft to data collection and brokering abuses. Some states, like Massachusetts' attorney general, do have "some regulatory tools to tackle this issue, including the state's consumer protection law and the ability to put forth regulations." Are we in for a patchwork of conflicting state laws?

The future of big data: what's next probably isn't what most would guess

Big data has moved from a trend to a given even though not all companies are comfortable with the tools yet. Indeed, many big data projects are still focused on the low hanging fruit and the big fields of information in the harder data warehouse terrains are largely left unharvested. But things are progressing and everyone pretty much accepts that data-driven is the only way forward. The question is, what comes next?

Nest to air conditioner: An analytics conflict waiting to happen?

First Google bought Nest to up the ante in smart home analytics. And that was pretty cool since it also heralded the onset of the IoT age in earnest.  What could possibly make the stakes more evident than Google plunking down a cool $3.2 billion for a frickin' home thermostat, eh? But now Seeley International, a major air conditioner manufacturer, is also turning to data analytics in its air conditioners sold worldwide and we have to wonder how all those smart things are going to work together – or not. 

Precision medicine is about to get personal – as in personal quests to cure one's own disease

These days, disruption is the only thing you can count on and this one is fairly easy to see coming.  Plan for it now.