Technological innovations are rapidly improving nearly every facet of our lives in this digital age. A central driving force behind this innovation is the emergence of new and complex streams of information, often referred to as big data. The sheer volume and velocity of this data renders traditional methods of data analysis virtually useless. However, with the emergence of data science, we are developing new techniques to extract meaningful insight and actionable information from these large datasets.
Extracting Golden Nuggets of Information From the Data Mine
Each day, we are bombarded by an endless stream of data from a wide variety of sources. How can we realistically hope to digest and make effective decisions from such a massive influx of data? Data mining, or the process of using data engineering and analysis to correlate big data, offers some promising solutions. Through data mining techniques, critical patterns and actionable information can often emerge. These methods are improving the decision-making processes for a wide range of industries.
Wide-Ranging Benefits of Big Data Analysis
Big data has far-reaching implications to improve nearly every segment of society. However, to provide value, an organization must be able to capitalize on the actionable information derived. Here are a few examples in which organizations are currently employing big data analytics to benefit their sectors:
- Healthcare: Rapid analysis of large volumes of patient data now yield life-saving diagnoses and even suggest optimal treatment methods.
- Business: Through data mining and effective analysis, businesses are outperforming their competitors through rapid decision-making and efficiently-targeted marketing strategies.
- Defense industry: Analysis of big data is assisting the defense industry with rapidly developing effective weapons and helping to predict the future actions of potential enemies.
- Scientific research: Nearly every discipline of science is unearthing new and exciting discoveries via the correlations emerging from big data analytics. These patterns and the insight they provide are enabling enormous leaps in scientific research and development fields.
Shortfalls of Human-Driven Data Engineering
Despite the myriad revolutionary changes big data analysis is driving, it is ultimately limited by the speed and imagination of the human analyst in the loop. Although the human mind is incredibly complex and imaginative, it cannot solve problems or analyze data at nearly the same speed as a machine. Moreover, human analysts cannot begin to handle the sheer volume of simultaneous data streams which machines are able to process. To address shortfalls in human analytical speed and capacity, a new horizon has opened up in big data manipulation.
Machine Learning Unlocks the Hidden Potential of Big Data
Artificial learning and the use of artificial intelligence has driven our abilities to analyze and process data into a previously unrealized territory. As machine learning concepts mature, we are now able to teach analytical techniques to artificial intelligence. Through artificial intelligence, we can reach into an even larger volume of data and extract more meaningful conclusions. The next evolution of this process, via machine learning, may allow us to dig deeper into data streams to predict future events such as the path of hurricanes with more accuracy.
Everyday Uses for Machine Learning
The concepts of machine learning and artificial intelligence are not just applicable in laboratories or think tanks. In fact, in today’s technologically-driven age, many of us use machine learning and artificial intelligence on a daily basis. Here are a few common examples of how we often employ this technology without even realizing it:
- Email: Have you ever wondered how your inbox largely remains free of annoying spam messages? Machine learning is employed to develop algorithms which scan incoming messages and search for formatting and phrases associated with spam.
- Targeted advertising: Quite often, when you search for a product online, you will receive recommendations for additional products or services which may interest you. This targeted service examines your previous search preferences and click history to select items to appeal to your specific tastes.
- Global Positioning Systems (GPS): Each time you ask your smartphone or GPS system for the shortest route to your destination, or for a route that avoids traffic or tolls, you are employing artificial learning.
Future Analytical Vistas Through Machine Learning
The never-ending stream of information at our fingertips today provides opportunities to influence the world around us to a degree never before experienced in the history of humankind. The future promises even greater big data processing through advanced machine learning. Future evolution of big data-driven machine analysis could yield critical benefits to enhance our lives and the world around us.