Big Data is like crude oil, suggests Andreas Weigend in an interview with Business Week. He compares it to oil in the sense that big data itself is practically useless and needs to be refined before its true value can be extracted. At the same time, like with many other energy sources, if something goes wrong things will go very wrong. Whether Fukushima or the BP/Gulf of Mexico accident, a glitch in the big data environment may mean an equally disastrous outcome for people whose data is affected.
Weigend is the former Chief Data Scientist at Amazon and so certainly knows what he is talking about. Currently he is an independent consultant.