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Those with a more conservative disposition might believe that Big Data is a short-lived fad and they may in fact be partially right. Others by contrast – especially those who dispassionately note that digitization is only now beginning to deliver its payload – may beg to differ. I argue that all things considered, Big Data will likely cease to exist, not so much because it is a fad but quite likely because all data will eventually be Big Data. In this essay, with the law of diminishing returns in the back of my mind, I use diverse examples, in an effort to shed some light on the question of “how much data do we really need”. My intend is not to exhaustively explore the answers so much as it is to provoke thought among the reader. I argue that depending on the use case both a data deficit and an abundance thereof may be counterproductive and that the various stakeholders, from lay persons and data experts to firms and the society at large, are probably faced with different, and possibly conflicting, optimization problems, whereby nothing will free us from having to continuously ponder on how much data is enough data. Finally the greatest challenges that data-intensive societies are likely to face might include positive reinforcement, feedback mechanisms and data endogeneity.
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- Big Data is a big deal but how much data do we need?
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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