As data grows exponentially, is analysis keeping up? Thoughts from Predict 2015

16 Sep 2015

Cronan McNamara, CEO and founder of Creme Global, opens proceedings at Predict 2015. Photo by Luke Maxwell

Predict 2015 brought 40 speakers to Dublin to demystify data science for the businesses that can benefit from it.

The event, conceived by Creme Global, takes place in Dublin’s RDS and continues tomorrow, Thursday, with workshops on data ethics, health analytics and more.

“We’ve been working in data analytics for a number of years in Creme Global and we decided now is the time to try and bring a big event to Dublin to celebrate the rise of data analytics and to bring the best speakers in to demystify this area for businesses and organisations in Ireland,” said Creme Global CEO Cronan McNamara.

Creme Global’s head of software Brian O’Mullane said he foresees a future for predictive analytics beyond data and computer scientists.

“It’s not just people who studied computer science developing computer science products anymore,” he said.

“Business analysts will be able to code models and will be able to create these models, in which case we’ll see a lot more people able to analyse and work with this data.”

And it’s not just mere humans who are quickly learning from data, but artificial intelligence too, as demonstrated by the CTO of IBM’s Watson programme in Europe, Duncan Anderson, and the robot, Newton.

‘Data is being generated exponentially fast and I don’t think analtyics is exponentially keeping up with it’

There’s no denying the incredible growth of data, particularly as the world around us becomes increasingly injected with sensors and monitors, but Dr John Elder, founder of Elder Research, reckons the tools for analysis aren’t necessarily keeping up.

“Only a tiny fraction of the data that’s collected is ever analysed,” he said.

“And, of course, data is being generated exponentially fast and I don’t think analytics is exponentially keeping up with it.”

A Magna Carta for data

Some of the data leaders gathered in the RDS for Predict 2015 will further these discussions in workshops such as the data ethics session, Towards a Magna Carta for Data, on Thursday morning.

This event will bring together representatives from government, industry and research to discuss the development of an ethics framework for big data for Ireland, which could be a model for Europe and the rest of the world.

The project is led by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, one of Dublin’s largest data analytics centres, and the next stage will bring them to Lisbon on 21 October as part of the EU’s ICT 2015 programme.

The ongoing workshop series aims to build a community of European researchers, policymakers, industry leaders and European Commission officials interested in the process of defining and implementing European regulations in the area of data protection.

The outcomes from this series could go on to inform inform legislation, corporate policy, research strategy and systems development in the context of data rights.

Data Science Week, with special coverage of this rapidly growing field, will take place on from 28 September to 2 October 2015. Get updates by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #DataScienceWeek on Twitter.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.