Give Me Data or Give Me Death!
As US Independence Day approaches, Tom Hastain gives his thoughts about revolutions, the British, 3000-calorie breakfasts, and, of course, technology.
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I love the Fourth of July. It’s like Christmas for Patriots. In fact, if Santa Claus also wore blue I might petition for his U.S. citizenship. But he doesn’t, so he can live beyond the wall until his worker’s visa kicks in on Christmas Eve.
In December, I wrote about how Santa Claus could create efficiencies through Hadoop. He loved it, but offered me only paltry elf wages so I remained on at Hortonworks and left him to drown in his frigid data lake. Now I’m sitting in sunny Santa Clara and looking forward to a three-day weekend.
The best three-day weekend of them all…
Life, Liberty, Netflix and Chill
As I longingly stare out the window and pretend to work, I can’t help but reflect upon how Big Data enhances the Fourth of July. Seasonal political discourse may have been *ahem* trumped by inanity (editor's addition: Donald Trump), but this is still the time of year when Americans come together and enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Or steak, whiskey, and the pursuit of a couch. It’s all about perspective. But no matter your perspective, Big Data is improving our American experience in exciting ways. Let’s take the couch, for example.
What could be more American than Netflix, an American company, using machine learning algorithms to predict my entertainment preferences over the long weekend? Netflix knows that after I stream The Patriot, I’m going to love watching Americans triumph against Soviets, aliens, Soviets, aliens, Soviets, and especially aliens.
Netflix knows my soul. But how, the Oracle? Divination through tea leaves? How about a Hadoop-based data warehouse service in the cloud. So you can throw those tea leaves into the ocean, like our Founding Fathers did. Big Data is the key to predictive analytics. Big Data is making the couch great again.
This weekend is also an opportunity to reflect upon the Declaration of Independence from tyranny and oppression. There’s an interesting parallel in the Big Data community here as well. Just as King George once stifled the growth of the colonies, proprietary data solutions tend to lock customers into shackles too expensive to escape from.
In contrast, Hortonworks is 100 percent open source. That’s the kind of freedom America was founded upon. Meanwhile, over 240 years later, Britain still has a Queen.
I’m not saying everything British is bad. They gave us Monty Python, Pink Floyd, and they invented the 3000-calorie breakfast long before American obesity became hip. But then these limeys ruined that goodwill with an endless stream of sappy Hugh Grant rom-coms.
We need to declare a second independence and drive out the Redcoats! But this time we should do more courtesy to Britain than merely signing our John Hancocks in large enough letters for them to read sans spectacles.
Arizona State University is using Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and the Connected Data Platform to process more than a petabyte of cancer genomics data and transformative cancer research. Maybe after ASU unravels the complexity of cancer, they can unravel an even more complex web: British royal lineage.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Earlier I mentioned whiskey and Big Data is doing big things here as well. I can’t find, much less afford, Pappy Van Winkle. But that doesn’t mean I have to settle for blended Irish swill, either. Johnnie Walker, the second best Scotsman after William Wallace, is innovating whiskey with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Using a technology within the label itself, new smart bottles are collecting data to:
- Help consumers select the right whiskey
- Drive supply chain analytics
- Detect temperatures outside acceptable ranges (see also: Merck Optimizes Vaccine Yields: Striving for the “Golden Batch”)
- Detect bottle tampering and fake whiskies
Free and Independent Steaks
I already covered whiskey and the pursuit of couch, it’s only fitting I conclude with steak. Over the next 30 years, the demand for livestock is expected to double. Yet our available land, feed, and water resources will not. Unless we can learn how to become terraforming space cowboys, we must become more efficient.
Fortunately IoT is already driving sustainability in the agriculture industry. Merged with a fully connected supply chain, critical data on the efficiency, growth, health, stress and adaptation of cattle is helping improve yields, reduce waste, and lead to a healthier hamburger.
And Justice for All
I hold this truth to be self-evident: Fourth of July is what you make of it. For me, that means a marbled, bloody mass searing on the grill. And libations, which don’t mix well with fireworks, kids!
This weekend, as I grill my rib eye and sip my not-Pappy Van Winkle, I’ll be reflecting upon America and the promise of freedom for new ideas. The promise to challenge the existing paradigms. The promise to use Big Data to improve processes, derive new insights, and drive a new revolution.
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