Dangers of Big Data

Why Is Big Data Dangerous


Big data is like nuclear technology. It could be used for constructive uses as well as destructive uses. The similarity lies in its ability to cause more harm than good.

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Big data’s power lies in its ability to predict things based on algorithms. Ans its danger lies in the use of these predictions.

Big data predictions in the hand of an intelligent man, without wisdom, can cause catastrophe – or should I say a ‘holocaust’.

Let me explain you this.

We are being monitored day and night :

  • Google monitors and saves our browsing habits
  • Twitter saves our tweets
  • Facebook knows everything about our social relationships
  • Mobile operators know whom do we talk with and from where do we talk. It traces our location, time and content of conversation
  • Banks know everything about our financial transactions
  • Amazon monitors and saves our shopping habits

Today, privacy is just a dream. You think that your actions and conversations are private. But, the truth is that everything is being recorded.

Now we do not know what big data is capable of or what its algorithms can predict about us.

The biggest problem with big data is that even the collector of data does not know what for will it be used later on.

The data which is being collected right now for advertising purpose (targeted ads) may later on be used for security predictions.

The main purpose of big data is prediction & that day is not far enough when big data will predict which individuals are dangerous for the state.

I will cover here the area-wise dangers of Big Data .

Insurance Companies & Banking

Insurance companies will use big data predictions to find out individuals who will pose a greater risk to them. Hence, such individuals will be charged higher premium.

Similar will be the case while granting loans to certain individuals. Banks will grant loans on high interest to those individuals whom the algorithm have deemed risky.

Crime & Punishment

What if big data algorithms say that certain people are dangerous to society. Well, under such cases, they might be put under special vigilance.

It may happen that a particular teenager is required to be monitored by a social worker each week. This may be seen as taboo which might have adverse impact on the young mind. This would be like pronouncing judgement before committing crime.

Certain people might be denied visa based on big data predictions.

Certain people might be denied parole.

Big data is just a probability based prediction system. It might be right a certain number of times & wrong at other.

Putting the pressure & taboo of surveillance on certain people just based on big data is like taking away their rights to privacy and freedom without any act deserving such treatment.

Just imagine what a person might have to go through if government finds that, based on big data predictions, certain teenagers might become future terrorists. Just imagine what government would do with such kids.


Schools might charge higher fees from certain students bearing certain traits which, according to big data predictions, may not excel in future.


Consider the hiring procedure of companies like Google. They quantify the traits of their potential employees and think hiring as a big data problem as well.

However the fact is that under its present recruiting procedure,  it would not hire a college drop out like Bill Gates, neither would it employ someone like Steve Jobs.

A lot of excellent individuals might be denied employment if big data suggests otherwise.

Fooled By Randomness

According to the empiricist, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, there is a very good chance that we might see a correlation where a correlation does not exist. It might just be coincidence.

It is very possible that the algorithmists of big data will be fooled by randomness and see correlations where there actually are no correlations.