Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, co-authors of Big Data, explain why big data may be on par with the Internet (or perhaps even the printing press).

Which paint colour is most likely to tell you a used car is in good shape? How did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak? The key to answering these questions, and many more, is “big data” – our newfound ability to crunch the vast collections of information, analyse them instantly and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from them.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, co-authors of Big Data, explain why big data may be on par with the Internet (or perhaps even the printing press); how it will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education and innovation; and how we can protect ourselves from its hazards, from the end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalised for things we haven’t even done, based on big data’s ability to predict our behaviour.