The Demise of Big Data?

Making Intelligent Insights at the Edge

Alasdair Allan
25 min readSep 21, 2019

The transcript of a talk I gave both at the TechExeter conference in Exeter, and O’Reilly Media’s Strata conference in New York, during September 2019.

In our industry we tend to think far more about the future, than the past. The very nature of what we do means that we obsess about now and next, rather than putting things into their proper historical context, and that’s a mistake.

So every once in a while it’s worth it to take a step back, and look at history, then decide whether we want to repeat our mistakes and our triumphs, just one more time, or decide instead that we should be doing something different this time around.

Because we’ve been here before, back in 2011. Which was, by any measure, the dawn of the Big Data era. There were new tools appearing, new levers to move the world. We all got a bit excited.

I talked at one of the first big, Big Data, conferences, which not coincidentally was also in 2011. Although I didn’t talk about big data, mainly because I’m not entirely sure any of us knew what it was yet.

Instead I talked about Machine Learning. Nobody was all that excited about Machine Learning back…