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Herding Big Data

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Interana co-founder and CEO Ann Johnson explains why big data can’t give you answers unless you ask the right questions. (Published Thursday, April 16, 2015)

    Data used to cost around $200,000 a gigabyte to store, which meant only the most important data was saved. Today, however, that same gigabyte costs about 2 cents and most are storing every selfie and video on the cloud -- but how does one analyze it all? Well, it's not that easy.

    "When you ask question of your data tool, you have to be trained," Ann Johnson, founder and chief executive of Interana, a startup that gives users tools to analyze their mountains of data, told Press:Here. "There are special languages to ask the questions in and it make take minutes or days to get the answer."

    Johnson said that her company offers data tools to ask in questions in normal language and speed up retrieval times. Two of Interana's other founders are Facebook executives who were in charge of infrastructure projects that included handling large amounts of data.

    The amount of data is only getting larger. It could also mean that once the data gets very large, we could be surrendering some creativity for convenience. "Our tool is meant to be a person plus machine," she said. "I know some may think the data seems so big, can't  an AI machine come and decide these answers? Before you get to that you really need that human-machine cooperation where you're adding the creativity and insights."