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December 2012, Volume 1, Issue 12

With big data out of the box, maintaining order is a must

In Greek mythology, Prometheus offended Zeus, the king of the gods, by giving fire to mankind without permission. To avenge this deed, Zeus sent the first woman, Pandora, along with her eponymous box, to Earth as a gift to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus. Fearing a trick, Prometheus begged Pandora not to open the box. However, curiosity overcame her. When she peeked inside, all the ills of the world flew out, leaving but one thing within—hope. As in the myth, big data has certainly poured out of the box in 2012. Whether it is evil or largely a source of hope, and business benefits, for organizations remains to be seen. The past year has shown both sides—from privacy issues and nonsensical statistics to improved medical treatments and modeling of climate change. The possibilities for using big data are proving endless, and the technology to enable them has evolved by leaps and bounds. But there’s more to the story. Prometheus means “foresight” in Greek, and Epimetheus means “afterthought.” In today’s business environment, ...

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