Tuesday, March 2, 2021

What is Big Data and Why Does It Matter


Think of all of the photos and videos you've ever taken on your phone and all of the word documents, PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets stored on your laptop and basically just any information that you've gathered and everything you've ever downloaded onto your devices.

Now, these are all totally different things, but they all fall under one category - DATA. You might have heard someone tell you that they have 256 gigabytes of data on their phone. But the question still remains, what exactly is data and why is it so useful?

Well, that's exactly what we're going to be discussing in this video. So stick around. So data is basically a collection of facts. There's quantitative data, which is data that refers to a number. This can either be discrete, meaning a whole number or continuous, meaning a number that can have several decimals.

There's also qualitative data, which is non-numerical data. This data can be used to classify things or to categorize them. So at a high level, all the text, audio, images and videos stored in our phones and computers are forms of data. They are all digitally stored as a bunch of zeros and ones in machine systems.

So now that you have a general idea of what data is, why exactly is it so useful? Well, first and foremost, data equals knowledge. With good data, you have evidence to make informed decisions and find solutions to problems. This, in turn, allows you to get the results that you want.

Here's a simple example that will hopefully clear things up.

Let's say that Jim wants to go biking. Obviously, he wants to head out on a sunny day because no one wants to be rained on. Well, how can he make sure that it doesn't rain? This is where data comes in. Jim can head over to weather.com, where he can see the weather predictions for the next several days.

Not only are these predictions forms of data, but the company makes these predictions based off of numerous pieces of data as well. Using this, he can see that tomorrow is not such a bright day, but the day after certainly is. Two days later, he heads out and has a blast. So as you can see, this data helped him pick a day that suited his needs.

Given this, just imagine how much data can be useful for problems that are much bigger than this one. Artificial intelligence is actually one of the biggest powerhouses that data drives, specifically big data. Big data is basically when it sounds like data that's too big to be analyzed by traditional tools. To give you an idea of just how much data is available and being created in today's world, I want you to picture this.

So data is measured in bytes. A basic smartphone has about 30 gigabytes of storage space, while the top of the line iPhone has about 520 gigabytes. Now, if you own a phone, you might be impressed at the idea of having 500 gigabytes of space. And if you don't own one.

Well, let me just tell you, it's a lot. But as the amount of data in the world is exponentially increasing, gigabytes are no longer the real deal. These days, it's terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes.

Wait, Tera What? Basically one terabyte is a thousand gigabytes.

One petabyte is a thousand terabytes one exabyte is a thousand petabytes. And lastly, a zettabyte is a thousand exabytes. The amount of data in the world reached about 18 zettabytes in 2018 and will reach 175 ZB by 2025. Try to wrap your head around this 175 zettabytes, if stored on DVD's will make the stack of DVDs long enough to circle the Earth 222 times.

And if you were to download this 175 zettabytes onto your computer, it would take 1.8 billion years. Now, that's a lot of data. And this big data is exactly what makes A.I. so efficient. Humans can use this data to make machine learning models extremely powerful and useful.

For example, Netflix collects data every second from its 100 million users to figure out what each customer wants to see. This makes the user happy, which in turn makes Netflix retain its customers, creating an upward cycle of efficiency. So, as you can see, the data is very crucial to all aspects of life, especially the ones involved with artificial intelligence, since big data is growing faster than ever.

If you've enjoyed learning about data, be sure to give this article a thumbs up and comment down below how much data is on your phone right now? see you in the next one.