Blog | by Norman Kay | 05.24.2020

Sequential Overdrive by IBC Shell Packaging’s Founder & CEO, Norman Kay


Big data is yet another droning obsession within our criminally inane meme culture. It’s as wispy as ‘cloud talk.’


Big data is defined as large and complicated data sets that cannot be processed using traditional software. Infinitely macroscopic material requiring advanced analytics and algorithms to amass, process and spin out logical interpretations.


If you own a computer, laptop, pad, smartphone, any type of mobile device, you are an information bot. Fusing data from text, audio, imagery, and video, BD leaves nothing left on the floor – everything is vacuumed up.


There are 5 billion mobile phone users worldwide, and half of us are active on the internet.


As bandwidth and computing power have grown, they have accelerated the dominance of the BD sector including every business and service associated with harnessing and delivering that information. Analytics, ambience communities, cognitive psychologists, and nascent industries all manage the chaos.  And, they all ski in the wake of this big boat.


The engines of BD search, embrace, parse, curate, store and divulge terabytes, no, petabytes, uh uh, Exabytes, yes Exabytes of ETI – “everything that is.”
BD has its BB – big benefits. Think physics, disease prevention, national security, weather anomalies, economics, environmental research, and manufacturing efficiency.


It also comes with issues:


Credit agencies are a prime example of misused or abused data. Maintaining relational databases on thousands of servers, these companies focus on the accumulation of data whether correct or inaccurate. Invariably they are reticent to address or fix their data regardless of overwhelming contrary information.


Privacy. Need I say more? Yes, I would just add that we are all enablers.


Accuracy. BD is about patterns, and representations of those patterns.
There is no questioning, judgement, or reasoning paired with the algorithmic capture. And, unfortunately, there exists a fervent belief that all of the output is unblemished truth.


Relevancy. BD accumulates from the past and, perhaps, from yesterday. The dynamics of tomorrow however; social, geo-political, economic and climatic conditions on the planet are in an accelerating rate of flux. Beyond standard deviations, current events that impact data point to different outcomes in present time.


Bias. The interpretation of data as a reinforcement of beliefs, actions, and a shield against criticism. As analysts fall in love with their assumptions data is used to support their claims.


My primary concern with big data is the supplication that consumer marketing companies and their products yield to broad demographic generalizations.
Media people see BD as the key to unlocking the door, ultimately reaching each consumer, creating one-on-one relationships. Traditional media isn’t being discarded; it’s being de-emphasized as business craves intimacy with the shopper.


Yet, industry defines and diminishes macro groups by age, ethnicity, sex, etc. And I feel that this is where it gets really mushy. The information morphs into marketing manipulation that not only defines but dictates the habits of people. “This is what you should think, buy, wear, feel and value.” The data, disguised as cause, derives instincts, behavioral mapping, and behavioral suggestion.


The ‘informati’ collects, distills, and monetizes information. “This is exactly what you need to know about Millennials, GenX, baby boomers, etc.” Forget individuality, personality, shades of grey – you are indexed, sorted, cataloged.


I expect to become more entrenched. Look for ensuing posts on beta data, better beta data, smart data, deep data, dark data and the emerging ology of opaque data.


1. Where is all this headed?
2. Should we turn the table and install a means to charge for our personal information instead of providing it freely while paying for their goods & services, and allowing these marketing prophets to live in our heads rent free?
3. Anybody up for a round of SM – small data – on Saturday morning?

Norman Kay, CEO

IBC Shell Packaging

International Business Communications, Inc.