By David Weinberger, senior researcher, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University.
Big Data certainly makes smarter the fields of science and scholarship that use it. But does it make society smarter? For that we need to look at the network that connects our giant computing machines to data, to other machines, and to society.
If we had today’s stupendously powerful computers but no network connecting them, we could still do some forms of Big Data analysis. But real-time analysis of data would be severely hampered, and the vital work being done on data coming from the worldwide arrays of sensors would be all but impossible.