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What Social Issues Will Big Data Solve in 2017?

Posted July 4, 2017

The term big data has been (for some time now) floating around the tech world carrying on an air of anticipation, intimidation, and excitement. Big data has three defining characteristics: volume, velocity, and variety. In the last 20 years, data volume has increased immensely. Organizations can now gather information and analyze data sets faster, thanks to improved broadband data transfers. As the big data market expands, the quality and scope of information have also increased greatly.

The large amounts of information cultivated and mined by big data can be a source of valuable info for governments, organizations, and other entities in between. But that’s not all. The amount of information from the mammoth of data sets big data aims to collect can be used to solve problems that extend well over the realms of technology and business. Big data is being sought as a solution to a wide range of social, economic, and administrative challenges. Some of the social issues big data is going to help us solve this year include:

Public Safety

When you see a law enforcement officer patrolling the streets, you feel protected. The police keep watch, respond to our distress calls swiftly, and provide intervention in times of trouble. They help keep us safe. But on many occasions, our law enforcement officers are stuck behind their desks buried in tons of paperwork.

Although paperwork is an important part of police work, it doesn’t help us feel safer. Big data ushers us to a whole new world of possibilities in the field of public safety. The police department can use big data to increase the safety of the public. For instance, the departments can use big data to find the correlation between requests for public assistance and increase in crime. Law enforcement can also use metrics such as demographics and determine how any changes them or their distribution affects crime rates.


Traffic is one of the biggest problems in cities and big towns across the globe. In most cases, big data analytics are used to increase efficiency in businesses focussing on increasing profits. However, the idea of using big data analytics to improve efficiency on our roads and reduce congestion hasn’t been lost by the data scientists.

In major metropolitan areas, researchers have always been trying to figure out a way to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic. For a very long time, the go-to solution has always been to build more roads. But that doesn’t seem to work anymore because, eventually, the number of vehicles always outgrow the size of our freeways. There is the need for a more permanent solution, and researchers think that it may be in big data. Some cities are actually using big data to address some of their biggest traffic problems.


Colleges and universities can use big data analytics to improve the quality of education in their institutions. These institutions can use existing data to provide tailored learning experiences and boost innovation. This can be accomplished by conducting deep analysis of the existing student data via Hadoop clusters, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide the assistance needed to overcome continuing disparities in learning outcomes. The use of big data in education can also help reduce drop-out cases.

There you have it. These are some of the social problems big data can help the society to overcome. But that’s not all; other issues can be solved with big data analytics. With big data, the opportunities are unlimited. All we have to do is come up with better ways to deal with the instability that the influx of big data creates in our systems for better management.

Written by Lindsey Patterson

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