Dr. Peter Ross, a Senior Lecturer of the Department of International Business at the Griffith Asia Institute, was FSI’s speaker at its Mabini Dialogue on “Big Data and Decision Making: Are There Implications for Diplomacy?” on 27 September 2016 at the Benedicto Room, Carlos P. Romulo Library, Department of Foreign Affairs.
According to Dr. Ross, big data is a broad and ambiguous term and is more of a concept than a singular structure or strategy. Its features are: it rapidly increases amounts of digitized data, improves analytics through improved scientific algorithms and artificial intelligence, and decreases data storage and ICT computational costs.
He reported that by 2015, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were produced every day. By the end of 2016, annual global traffic will exceed the 1 zettabyte threshold. By the year 2020, it is forecasted that 30 percent of total IP traffic will be from smartphones, two-thirds of total IP traffic will be from wireless devices, and 3.4 devices per capita will be connected to IP networks.
As for the implications for diplomacy, he cited Leetaru, who suggested that big data can visualize, analyze, and forecast global issues. He recommended that public sectors embrace new tactics such as big data to create more sustainable and efficient practices as their organizations become more data intensive and that government agencies should invest in big data technologies. As regards its security, he explained that one should consider the risk-benefit ratio when acquiring big data since it is not guaranteed that everything is one hundred percent secure.