Big data: The next Google? Predictions from Nature Magazine

The folks at Nature Magazine just published a special issue called ‘Big Data’. Within that issue is an interesting article entitled ‘Big Data: The next Google’. Here is their introduction to that article:

What will happen in the next 10 years?

“Ten years ago this month, Google’s first employee turned up at the garage where the search engine was originally housed. What technology at a similar early stage today will have changed our world as much by 2018? Nature asked some researchers and business people to speculate — or lay out their wares. Their responses are wide ranging, but one common theme emerges: the integration of the worlds of matter and information, whether it be by the blurring of boundaries between online and real environments, touchy-feely feedback from a phone or chromosomes tucked away on databases.”

Thanks to Shel Sax for the tip!

1 thought on “Big data: The next Google? Predictions from Nature Magazine

  1. Ian McBride

    The next ten years will be able virtual reality visors, 3D worlds, and touch screens? Frankly, I’ve heard this once or twice before. To quote:

    “As you browse you will discover interesting objects and you will be able to download the code to make those objects come to life, and behave on your screen or in a 3-D space in a way that an author or artist intended.”

    – Tim Berners Lee, 1995

    (btw, that’s a great resource for technology prediction history)

    It seems like only yesterday that I was in Voter reading about how VRML’s 3D technology would revolutionize the web by letting us build virtual cities in embedded Java applets, but it was really 1995 and I was in sixth grade editing my Geocities home page on a PowerMac 6500. It was, however, in Voter… or maybe the Science Center if I’d already been kicked out of Voter that day.

    To contribute, I think the “next big things” in tech will be things that the consumer really never notices. Our entire information superhighway (since I’m on an early 90’s kick) is still driven on an architecture planned around 50, or if we’re feeling really wild 500, computers.

    That DNS (website addresses), SMTP (email), and TCP/IP (how computers talk to each other) need to be redesigned from the group up has been a groan-worthy tech topic for at least a decade. I’d be shocked and a little frightened if we made it another 10 years without major overhauls to each of these systems, which will require the ground-up recoding of much of the web as we know it. In my opinion, that we’re even talking about making websites somehow easier for search engines to parse to extra metadata (the semantic web) when I can still pretend I’m you and send a bunch of email as you, is a little sad. These changes might not be as flashy as Second Life, but they’ll have far more impact on the folks using those flashy services.

    To add to the gloom, I think the other major change that we’re going to need to get used to is a lack of information privacy. Here are the people who know my social security number: the Federal government (one hopes), Middlebury College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, ESCI: WPI’s loan provider, Sallie Mae, Verizon, Adelphia, FairPoint, Comcast, John Chamberlain & Assoc., MUHS, the National Bank of Middlebury, Key Bank, Porter Medical Center, EBPA, TIAA/CREF, and every credit card vendor known to man.

    This is really nothing new. They’ve collected this information over the last 25 years, it’s just that they’re now storing it in databases that happen to have web front ends, so I can log in an view all of the information they have about me. To those who say, “So what?”, I’ll remind you that the ability to spoof an email address I talked about above is shocking news to most people. Fortunately, thanks to the new internet protocols I predict will be developed, I’ll be able to access sensitive data about myself in high speed on my 3D internet goggles.

    (btw, this would include biological data, which the linked article mentioned in what I’d consider one of it’s better segments)


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