Preying on Big Data

The falcon soars to a pitch high above a plain, surveying for an attractive piece of data. Another 2.5 quintillion bytes is filling the landscape today, stuffing social media posts, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS signals and other information systems.

He anticipates the flow of information, staying a step ahead of reactions, considering all environmental conditions. Circling the surroundings, he isn’t expecting the feel of familiarity, but thinking instinctively – nothing is unfamiliar. The characteristics of untrustworthy, unreliable data are consistent across state borders.

FalconAs the falcon spots a vulnerable idea, infected with judgment, cynicism and fear, he quickly and calculatingly descends on it, pummeling it. What comes next seems chaotic, but the actions are efficiently deliberate. He tears into the information, knowing everything void of integrity relies on similar connections. He snaps its weak thesis, severs its brittle claims. He exposes its ambiguous, misleading and false conclusions. Useless morsels are tossed into the sun – the jackals will get it later.

The falcon fills his crop with only the most meaningful messages, before hastily removing his talons from the wreckage. He carries his fill until the landscape cools and his location is secret. And then, he’ll swallow what’s relevant and spit up the rest – it’s one final filter to ensure he survives. His existence, persistence is critical.

The bird of prey must stay disciplined, savoring the hunt more then the kill. At times, two seconds is too late, such as stopping fraud and sabotage. He’ll soar into Twitter tomorrow, where another 12 terabytes of Tweets is expected.

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