“Data” is the collection of information. It is the set of variables collected by a computer and subsequently used. Data itself is not information, but is transformed into it when placed in a context and post-analyzed. It is used in academic settings, businesses management, finance, and governance, and practically every human organizational activity. But how does data get converted into information? Let’s look at some of the common types of data.
First, let’s define data. The word data is derived from the Latin “datum”, which means “given.” The usage dates back to the 16th century. However, the term “data” is used to describe any sort of information that can be accessed, whether it is written on paper or is memorized by humans. The word “data” itself is not new – it dates back to the 1300s, where it originally meant “dataum” (presentation). It is used to refer to knowledge communication.
Among the most prominent uses of data is in profiling users. By using big data, companies can create patterns that identify common properties of users and predict their behavior and interests. However, the potential for discrimination and inequity is real, especially in situations where data is used to decide who gets the best deal. For example, profiling a user can lead to the refusal of credit card services or insurance. Ultimately, the motivation behind this type of discrimination is not always clear.