TARUN WADHWAV Senior Research Associate, Think India Foundation
The era of big data presents incredible opportunities -- smarter cities, stronger companies, faster medicine -- but just as many challenges. Storage is scarce, systems overloaded, governments and businesses know too much. The world now contains unimaginably vast amounts of digital information, which is growing exponentially. Managed well, this data can be used to engineer new engines of economic value, unlock scientific breakthroughs, and hold politicians accountable. Managed poorly, it can cause great harm.
The financial crisis showed that complex models that analyze large quantities of data do not always reflect financial risk in the real world. The financial crisis was sparked by big data -- and there will be others. But the data deluge will also generate millions of new ideas for how to solve big problems, build new markets, and expand existing ones. Ideas Economy: Information is a fresh look at knowledge management for the information age.
The Economist will bring together theorists, strategists, and innovators who understand how to harness data to create value and advance individual, corporate, and social good. We will sift through the vast quantities of current thinking on data to uncover the best ways forward. And we will apply the lessons of the Ideas Economy, about innovation, human capital, and intelligent infrastructure, to uncover new sources of growth and accelerate human progress across the globe.
Tarun Wadhwa is a senior research associate with the Think India Foundation, where he analyzes the issues and challenges that India is facing due to urbanization. Wadhwa is completing a book on the promise and the perils of India's national identity system, the largest project of its kind in the world. He has been a researcher with the Vivekananda International Foundation, in New Delhi, India; has conducted research on globalization and trade-related issues for Harvard Law School, Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, and Patton Boggs LLP; and has worked on advocacy, labor, and privacy issues with the Campaign For Youth Justice; Office of the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao; and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.