This White Paper was written by Emmanuel Letouzé in collaboration with SciDev.net and the World Bank Group.
“Big Data and Development: An Overview” describes the fundamental nature of Big Data as an ecosystem and how it engages with society. The Big Data ecosystem is stimulated by a supply for data and analytics capacities and the demand for better, faster, and cheaper information. The purpose of Big Data is threefold: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive.
Although Big Data has promising applications to real-world problems, it is met with warnings and risks–the most severe being risk to individual privacy, identity and security. In addition, there are important questions about “data anonymisation” and validity relating to the application of Big Data analysis. In response to these challenges and risks, the paper explores the future of Big Data and how it will be shaped by academic research, legal, and technical frameworks for ethical use of data, and larger societal demands for greater accountability and participation.