2016 Was a Big Year for Big Data

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With the start of 2017, everyone is leaping for the next bigger and better technology, but how far have we come already? Big Data is set to grow and advance with every month that’s passes as enterprises adopt data lakes, but let’s take a second to appreciate how much change was put in effect because of this data tool’s influence in 2016.

Here are the highlights of what Big Data has accomplished – both technologically and socially – in the past year.

1. AI Advancement Skyrocketed

We’ve long awaited the time where machines would take after their Sci-Fi counterparts and become advanced enough to outmaneuver any human. 2016 didn’t get us all the way to GLaDOS, but with Big Data boosting the speed and capacity of machine learning, we do have the Google DeepMind AI beating humans at the game of Go. If you want to take the thing on yourself, it’s even willing to go up against online competitors – with the sideline advantage of learning more from each game and becoming more unbeatable with every round it takes on. Not only is this revolutionary for AIs, but it sets a pattern of high hope for AIs such as Siri taking a leap to the next level in 2017.

2. Tax Shelters Unveiled

Certainly you’ve heard of the Panama Papers over 2016, but what you might not know is investigative journalism wouldn’t have gotten the big reveal half as far as it did if it weren’t for Big Data. By leveraging cloud-based data analytics, the tax shelters previously out of reach offshore suddenly came into sight, with Big Data making it possible to narrow down more hardcore, black and white paper trails that lead to the massive reveal. 2016 wasn’t only a year for Big Data to advance itself, but also for those with the skills to utilize to advance the real-world good it can do.

3. Human Trafficking Taken Down a Notch

The Polaris Project with its drive to stop human trafficking has made fantastic progress over the years; but never so much as when Big Data lent a helping hand. The world revolves around number and patterns, some of which are too complex for people to decipher and understand fast enough to act on the insights. This matter of seconds is the difference in a human being losing their change to be rescued from trafficking – and Big Data can do it in milliseconds. With human trafficking taking away the freedom of more than 20.9 million people worldwide, Big Data has been a strong tool for fighting back against this crime industry in 2016.

4. Better Cancer Research

You’d think cancer research would be left to the doctors, but that’s not the case when Intel’s Bryce Olson got involved, mixing technology in medicine to have outstanding results. Since DNA works like a more advanced code than any computer can recreate, Big Data is the perfect tool for breaking down these complex patterns to give more insightful looks at where cancer begins and how it can be ended. Suffering from cancer himself, Olson helped spearhead the Trusted Analytics Platform, which is a collection of Big Data tools and data analytics designed to further the research of cancer – faster and better than anything we’ve seen in the past.

5. HIV Outbreaks Battled Better Than Ever Before

When the Opioid-Fueled HIV outbreak rocked the country in 2016, taking a massive death toll and seriously damaging the health of those who survived, the Center for Disease Control was scrambling to not only contain the problem, but bring it to the end. That’s when they turned to Big Data tools that allowed them to get a stronger handle on what the problem was, how to isolate it, and most importantly, how to stop it in its tracks. Big Data had its proving ground in bring the outbreak to a close, and with the advancements made in how Big Data can affect medicine, we can expect more outstanding leaps in 2017.

Big Data has brought big money to a variety of corporations over the past year, but some of the greatest highlights we’ve seen from it yet have struck deeper and had a greater impact in today’s society.

Contributed by: Linda Gimmeson, a tech writer with a focus in big data, machine learning, & IoT. Linda discusses big data, emerging technologies, and how companies can get real value out of their data.


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