Data Diaries: Technology’s man-made universe on the Internet

I have always been interested in astronomy and space travel. When most teenage girls my age had a Donny Osmond poster on their wall, I had a picture of Neil Armstrong standing on the moon. What fascinated me most was how big the universe was – many scientists believe it to be infinite. For me, infinite space means infinite possibilities.

Today, I look up at the stars and enjoy their beauty. But, I also wonder about how long it will be until we move from simply enjoying the beauty of the stars to using the infinite resources available in the universe? Since the first unmanned orbit in 1957 to our landings on Mars and the space station, we’ve made some progress, but we have a long way to go in our journey to the stars.

Today, I’m also fascinated by another “universe” that is growing and has infinite potential – the Internet.  Last year, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, reached a landmark with 400 billion webpages indexed, meaning we have as many pages on the Internet as we have stars in our galaxy. And despite its gargantuan size, the Internet still grew at roughly 8 percent this year, surpassing 430 billion pages.

One question I ask myself: Are we simply enjoying the beauty of the Internet or are we making strides to harness its potential – to make use of it as a resource?

I definitely enjoy beauty on the Internet. I confess that I am a real fan of cat and dog videos. And much of my “television” entertainment now comes from the myriad of video providers. Remember my fascination with space?

However, I look forward to leveraging the Internet more for its value and what I can learn from it. Today, I can use the Internet for classes, to learn from the wisdom and experience of others, etc. Tomorrow, what will I be able to do? How will I be able to tap into the minds of experts worldwide?

In the same way that technology is helping us explore the stars, analytics will help us explore the Internet and use it more effectively.

What are your dreams for using the Internet?  How do you envision it will become a resource in your future?

Data did that.


Close-up on Susie:

Susie Schiffler leads a global strategic sales planning organization at IBM. Since joining IBM in 1986, she has served in a variety of roles, including 10 years in IBM Research and 17 years in market analysis. Susie received her MSBA (Business Analytics) in 2014 and her MBA in Marketing in 1998 from New York University’s Stern School of Business and her BS in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College in 1994. Susie lives with her husband, two dogs and various rescue cats in a circa 1880 farmhouse in upstate New York.

Fun fact: Susie loves knitting and finds it very relaxing and meditative. Her current project will have 145,951 peaceful stitches in it.

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