Erschienen in Ausgabe 3-2016Schlaglicht

Big Data and Analytics – What are the perspectives?

How to dance with the machines in sustainable harmony

Von Dr. Dirk SolteVersicherungswirtschaft

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In order to discuss the probable future economical and societal impact of Big Data and Analytics, the term Big Data & Analytics (BD&A) has to be defined precisely. That is anything but easy. Sometimes maybe a joke can convey the essentials:
Trying to get a correct answer to a question via BD&A, figuratively speaking, is like trying to get inside knowledge about the behaviour of a pig by analysing all the dishes of a huge number of potluck dinners with mathematical methods.
That is a very brief description of what we could think about BD&A. On a serious note, there is a big difference between conventional ICT and data driven innovations that lie ahead with BD&A:
As a first aspect, BD&A solutions provide a kind of “manifest what” by extracting value from a flat and unstructured “datafied universe of information-shreds” with unknown veracity. This helps to answer questions on the basis of approximations and correlations.
The difference is that conventional data and analytics provide a kind of “know what” instead of “manifest what” by implementing “know why” as value. Due to this approach questions are answered on the basis of implemented causation. Thus, the difference is mainly correlation in the case of BD&A instead of causation in the traditional field.

Impacts on employment and equity

Based on this very rough but hopefully precise enough definition, including the differences of classical and BD&A solutions, the results of a study, which was part of a large OECD-project “Data-Driven Innovation: Big Data for Growth and Well-Being”, presented at the “OECD Global Forum on the Knowledge Economy 2014” in Tokyo, are summarized.
Firstly, let us assume that ecological, societal and economical sustainability via a green and inclusive market economy is our common goal.
Secondly, let us assume green and inclusive growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a fair distribution pattern of entitlement and participation is a prerequisite for societal and ecological sustainability.
BD&A have a big potential in this direction:
We should keep in mind that the current level of employment, meaning the number of employed people in the OECD countries is just over 500 million. We should compare this number to a probable workforce in the next 30 years of about seven billion people. So on the one hand, BD&A could have a positive impact on the direction of green and inclusive growth and a green and inclusive market economy but on the other hand, it…