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Posts Tagged ‘Big Data’

Who will benefit most from the data economy?

Posted by hkarner - 23. Februar 2020

Date: 20‑02‑2020

Source: The Economist

It is already unequal and that inequality could get worse

The data economy is a work in progress. Its economics still have to be worked out; its infrastructure and its businesses need to be fully built; geopolitical arrangements must be found. But there is one final major tension: between the wealth the data economy will create and how it will be distributed. The data economy—or the “second economy”, as Brian Arthur of the Santa Fe Institute terms it—will make the world a more productive place no matter what, he predicts. But who gets what and how is less clear. “We will move from an economy where the main challenge is to produce more and more efficiently,” says Mr Arthur, “to one where distribution of the wealth produced becomes the biggest issue.”

The data economy as it exists today is already very unequal. It is dominated by a few big platforms. In the most recent quarter, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook made a combined profit of $55bn, more than the next five most valuable American tech firms over the past 12 months. This corporate inequality is largely the result of network effects—economic forces that mean size begets size. A firm that can collect a lot of data, for instance, can make better use of artificial intelligence and attract more users, who in turn supply more data. Such firms can also recruit the best data scientists and have the cash to buy the best ai startups. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Economics of Data

Posted by hkarner - 24. September 2019

By Yan Carrière-Swallow and Vikram Haksar

Look around the global economy and you’ll see an American company developing the next generation of driverless cars, a Chinese financier extending loans to “mom-and-pop” stores that used to lack access to credit, and researchers at a Swiss pharmaceutical company developing a treatment for a chronic health condition.

What do all these valuable economic activities have in common, despite taking place on different continents and in different sectors of the economy?

Had we asked the question of global firms thirty years ago, the answer would probably have been “not much.” But today, the answer is clear. They all rely on the same indispensable input: data. And lots of it.

Global cooperation is needed to ward off the risk that the digital economy becomes fragmented, with data access limited by national borders.

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Big Data Doesn’t Interpret Itself

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2019

Date: 07-09-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Frank Wilczek

The history of astronomy shows that observations can only explain so much without the interpretive frame of theories and models

Big data and machine learning are powering new approaches to many scientific questions. But the history of astronomy offers an interesting perspective on how data informs science—and perhaps a cautionary tale.

Early Babylonian astronomers took what today we’d call a pure “big data” or “pattern recognition” approach. They accumulated observations of solar, lunar and planetary motion and eclipses for many centuries and identified various cycles that had repeated many times. Simply by assuming that those cycles would continue, they were able to give good advice for planting, irrigation and harvest times, to cast credible horoscopes and to predict in advance when lunar eclipses would occur. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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No Relief for Big Tech Under New EU Leadership

Posted by hkarner - 4. September 2019

Date: 02-09-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Incoming EU Commission president plans new laws on artificial intelligence and the use of big data as earlier investigations by the bloc’s antitrust enforcer continue

European Union Commission’s President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has promised tighter regulation of artificial intelligence when she takes office in November.

BRUSSELS—The leadership of the European Union is changing over the next few months, but the organization’s scrutiny of U.S. tech companies likely isn’t.

The incoming head of the EU executive arm is promising new laws on artificial intelligence and the use of big data within 100 days of taking office on Nov. 1, as the bloc’s antitrust enforcer gathers evidence in its probes into the practices of companies including Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The future of insurance is happening without insurance firms

Posted by hkarner - 21. Juli 2019

Date: 18-07-2019
Source: The Economist

The industry’s plodding giants face mounting threats from restless reinsurers and Big Tech

Every morning, from a room in Birmingham, some of the world’s largest firms are briefed by phone on the weather in store. As continents, arrows and weather fronts flicker across their screens, meteorologists at The Weather Company (twc) help British grocers decide whether to stock soups or salads, and Chinese energy firms when to operate wind turbines. Yet such sessions are getting rarer. Computed by 172 models crunching 400 terabytes of data—33 times the amount Twitter stores every 24 hours—most of twc’s 25bn daily forecasts now feed directly into customers’ computer systems.

Big data has turned weather into a big business. twc, which was bought by ibm in 2016, serves governments, media channels and 40% of the world’s airlines. But many property insurers, whose fortunes rely on forecasting climate-induced losses, are still learning how to use the information, says Leon Brown of twc. Their cluelessness is symptomatic of a problem for all insurance lines, including casualty, life and health. Reinsurance firms (which insure the insurers) and Asian insurance champions are almost the only innovators in an industry that is moving at a glacial pace. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Kapitalismus geht auch ohne Demokratie

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2019

Date: 07-06-2019
Source: Die Zeit

Der demokratische Kapitalismus westlicher Prägung könnte zum Auslaufmodell werden. China zeigt der Welt gerade, wie eine datengetriebene Planwirtschaft funktioniert.

Ein Essay von Thomas Beschorner, Miriam Meckel und Léa Steinacker

China zeigt der Welt, dass für einen funktionierenden Kapitalismus keine demokratischen Strukturen notwendig sind.

Thomas Beschorner ist Professor für Wirtschaftsethik und Direktor des Instituts für Wirtschaftsethik der Universität St.Gallen. Miriam Meckel ist Professorin für Kommunikationsmanagement an der Universität St.Gallen sowie Gründungsverlegerin der Digitalplattform ada. Léa Steinacker ist Chief Strategy Officer von ada.

Es gibt die Hoffnung, dass der Kapitalismus in naher Zukunft durch ein besseres System abgelöst werden könnte. Und es gibt die Hoffnung, dass er endlich wieder zu seinen Wurzeln der reinen freien Märkte zurückkehren könnte. Welche der beiden Position man auch immer bevorzugt – es gibt noch eine dritte Variante: die Revitalisierung der Planwirtschaft auf Datenbasis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Big Data Can Help Save the World

Posted by hkarner - 28. März 2019

Date: 27-03-2019
Source: Scientific American

Emerging analytic and computing tools are enabling much better use of huge data sets

Our ability to collect data far outpaces our ability to fully utilize it—yet those data may hold the key to solving some of the biggest global challenges facing us today.

Take, for instance, the frequent outbreaks of waterborne illnesses as a consequence of war or natural disasters. The most recent example can be found in Yemen, where roughly 10,000 new suspected cases of cholera are reported each week—and history is riddled with similar stories. What if we could better understand the environmental factors that contributed to the disease, predict which communities are at higher risk, and put in place protective measures to stem the spread?

Answers to these questions and others like them could potentially help us avert catastrophe.

We already collect data related to virtually everything, from birth and death rates to crop yields and traffic flows. IBM estimates that each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated. To put that in perspective: that’s the equivalent of all the data in the Library of Congress being produced more than 166,000 times per 24-hour period. Yet we don’t really harness the power of all this information. It’s time that changed—and thanks to recent advances in data analytics and computational services, we finally have the tools to do it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The NHS genomic service could transform medicine

Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2018

Date: 28-09-2018
Source: The Economist

Its size, universal coverage and lifelong health records make it uniquely valuable for research

FORTY per cent of the babies born in Britain in the week starting on March 3rd 1946 became the first subjects in a project that eventually achieved global scientific renown (and inspired its share of laboratory envy). Along with children from three younger generations, 58,000 in total, those babies have been followed by researchers throughout their lives. Troves of data on everything from child development to ageing have helped to shape health care in Britain and beyond.

Now the National Health Service is launching another big-data programme that could be just as transformative. From October, NHS England will begin to routinely carry out a standard set of genomic tests for some cancers and rare diseases, filling in the patchy use of such tests today. Crucially, for patients who consent, the data from these tests will be held at a national research centre along with their health records. The NHS’s size, universal coverage and cradle-to-grave health records promise to make the database uniquely useful. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can the EU become another AI superpower?

Posted by hkarner - 22. September 2018

Date: 20-09-2018
Source: The Economist
Subject: Big data, small politics

Taking on America and China will be hard

ANGELA MERKEL, Germany’s chancellor, has a reputation for being dour. But if she wants to, she can be quite funny. When asked at a recent conference organised by Ada, a new quarterly publication for technophiles, whether robots should have rights, she dead-panned: “What do you mean? The right to electric power? Or to regular maintenance?”

The interview was also striking for a different reason. Mrs Merkel showed herself preoccupied by artificial intelligence (AI) and its geopolitics. “In the US, control over personal data is privatised to a large extent. In China the opposite is true: the state has mounted a takeover,” she said, adding that it is between these two poles that Europe will have to find its place.

Such reflections are part of a wider realisation in Europe: that AI could be as important to its future as other foundational technologies, like electricity or the steam engine. Some countries, including Finland and France, have already come up with national AI strategies, and Germany is working on one. Once it is finished later this year, the European Union will condense these efforts into a co-ordinated plan on AI. Unsurprisingly, it is all highly Eurocratic: dozens of committees and other bodies are involved. But the question raised by Mrs Merkel is as vital for Europe as the ones about Brexit or immigration: can it secure a sizeable presence in between the AI superpowers of America and China? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Big data is reshaping humanity, says Yuval Noah Harari

Posted by hkarner - 30. August 2018

Date: 30-08-2018
Source: The Economist

Uneven and easy to mock, his new book contains provocative and profound ideas

21 Lessons for the 21st Century. By Yuval Noah Harari.Spiegel & Grau; 372 pages; $28. Jonathan Cape; £18.99.

YUVAL NOAH HARARI may be the first global public intellectual to be native to the 21st century. Where other authors are carpetbaggers, hauling their 20th-century thinking into the new millennium, Mr Harari is its local boy done good. He comes with all the accoutrements of the modern pop thinker: a posh education (Oxford, followed by a teaching gig at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), two bestsellers and the obligatory TED talk. He even meditates for two hours a day.

And he is armed with a big idea: that human beings will change more in the next hundred years than they have in all of their previous existence. The combination of biotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) may enable some people to be digitally enhanced, transforming what being human means. As this happens, concepts of life, consciousness, society, laws and morality will need to be revised.

The ballast for these views was laid down in Mr Harari’s earlier books. In “Sapiens” he argued that what made humans special was their ability to organise on a large scale around shared beliefs, such as religion, nationalism or capitalism. In “Homo Deus” he looked at how humans may meld with technology, and what this means for inequality. He foresaw a world divided between biologically and digitally enhanced “gods” and the “useless”, who lack the cash for an upgrade. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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