How Sustainable Is Big Data?

Corbett, C.J.

The rapid growth of “big data” provides tremendous opportunities for making better decisions, where “better” can be defined using any combination of economic, environmental, or social metrics. This essay provides a few examples of how the use of big data can precipitate more sustainable decision-making. However, as with any technology, the use of big data on a large scale will have some undesirable consequences. Some of these are foreseeable, while others are entirely unpredictable. This essay highlights some of the sustainability-related challenges posed by the use of big data. It does not intend to suggest that the advent of big data is an undesirable development. However, it is not too early to start asking what the unwanted repercussions of the big data revolution might be.

Published Work | 2018 | Production and Operations Management. Vol. 27, No. 9, September 2018, pp. 1685–1695.

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