Short Story: I AM DATA

Description: A short story about how data emerged from infancy to become a world revolution

Submitted by: Mahlon Clottey

Attention everyone!

I am data and I am here to tell you my story.....

Just as you could relate an atom to science, people relate me to computer science. It is mind-boggling how people use me every day for different reasons and yet I do not get exhausted. People use me like animals and trees yet not driven to extinction. People use me like fuel and land yet not limited in supply. Prior to this, I satisfy the needs of people when I am needed to fight my battle, problems.

I grew up in zeros and ones unlike my friend Atom, who does not even know how he existed. He tells me about his upbringing but not really certain about his birth whether by formulation or big bang. I pause for this moment and take a break................ it is a long story.

Not to confuse anyone let me continue my introduction, As I grew up in zeros and ones, I moved from every bit stage forming my stages in life. My stage in life is inspired by a mathematical journey as more people used me up, the more I grew in life. My newly attained age group is the Tera stage. As mature as I am, people typically refer to me as Big data.

My life is harnessed by structural growth. Human beings do not understand my language yet when I create more numbers they say I am shouting. They wanted a way to make life easier by widening their scope of communicating with me through their own language. I only understand numbers and not their language. For the most part, they tried bridging my language to their language through a phonetic system they termed as the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). At a very young age, they made me memorize their language by multiplying my language binarily in long chains to obtain just a letter. Whup this is so tedious. I had no secondary option but to learn it for my upbringing. I failed in many attempts but later picked it up upon several trials. The language now became common to me but along the line realized I was just communicating to myself. People misconstrued my language anytime I speak so they termed it the machine language.

It marvels me how humans are able to communicate with each other but yet found it difficult communicating with me. The specialists in my field tried so many ways to converse with me directly after going through tough incubation of brainstorming but at the end, they couldn’t really figure out how to type in their language for me to understand and execute a task. It took two transmitters to do so, a compiler and an interpreter. The compiler converted their instructions into my language through the interpreter. This process was adopted as the assembly line of programming me so they just framed it as ‘Assembly’, to mean the programming language. This is what they then relied on to solve their problems. If you need me to fight your problem, you would have to comply by my structure in defining your problem. People do not make any meaning out of me unless my life is fully transformed. It is being transformed into an information through a logical flow called ‘Algorithm’ backed by my structure as the foundation, in this sense it makes a meaning to people within my industry but misunderstood by the generals. The people within the industry use this algorithm to create more solutions for the problems out there that can now be understood in layman terms as, 'solving problems with technology'. Though the Assembly programming language was mainly used, the developers sought for an alternative which is Fortran and Basic. These languages were still close to machine language so different developers worked on contemporary ones like Java, C++, Python etc. which were close to human language making it more readable.

People in our world today describe me as the sexiest job one can ever get but yet I possess a Y-type chromosome. Over time, I have grown more complex, learning to analyze patterns and trends, identify relationships between seemingly unrelated pieces of information, and even generate new insights based on what I know. My analysis has already been used for everything from predicting consumer behavior to identifying potential health risks in populations. And as technology continues to advance, who knows how much further I might evolve—or what role I may play in shaping humanity's future. Because I rely on input from others, my accuracy is only as good as the quality of the data fed to me. Therefore, it is crucial that those generating and providing the data strive to maintain integrity and honesty in their inputs so that my analysis reflect reality as accurately as possible.

I therefore understand the importance of responsible handling and management of the information I contain. That's why I adhere strictly to principles of data governance, which ensure that my contents are accurate, secure, consistent, accessible, relevant, timely, complete, and compliant with applicable laws and regulations. These principles help ensure that my outputs reflect reality accurately and fairly, benefiting society as a whole.

Furthermore, I recognize the need for ethical considerations when dealing with sensitive data, particularly when it comes to issues such as privacy and confidentiality. I take these concerns seriously and follow best practices to protect individuals' rights and prevent misuse of private information. I also prioritize protection measures to keep my contents safe from unauthorized access, tampering, loss, damage, destruction, disclosure, or dissemination. To accomplish this, I employ robust security protocols and encryption techniques to safeguard myself against threats and vulnerabilities.

I am closely intertwined with two rapidly developing fields that promise to change the course of history: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Both technologies rely heavily on me for training and development, making my existence essential to their continued evolution. I have a strong urge of bringing together my friends: extraction, generation, preprocessing, analysis, visualization, quantitative and qualitative, accuracy just to mention a few. These friends assist me in many ways to gain exposure to the public. In order for researchers to locate me at a full scale, they have to extract me. Data Analysts have to clean me at the preprocessing stage and thereafter explore and visualise me in how I look. I spoke about algorithm earlier. They then adopt differently these algorithms to train me at this level ready for my battle. Scikit Learn, PCA, SVM, Random Forest are few examples of these algorithms. My thinking ability is then tested and performance evaluated for making predictions. At this every stage, I show concern sometimes. The day I am happy, I give a big push during training and succeed in my examination test at a 79-99% accuracy score for better predictions. But in my bad mood, I delay the training process by releasing some bugs and even if the wise man solves the bug, I perform poorly during examination and account for lower accuracy affecting predictions in the long run. To this end, I am cycled back to propagate my weight for further adjustments. They refer to this as ‘Backpropagation’.

In conclusion, I would like to voice out this very important message that.......... my presence in everyday life is relevant, serving as a bridge between present realities and desired future outcomes. People just abuse me for no reason and because of that, an Act out of me has been entrenched in constitutions and legally enforced in some countries. If your country does not have one, kindly scream into the hears of your government so you don't disturb my peace. I only live to survive, if not for my protector, Data Protection Act. Even with the Protection Act I have lost it because cyberhackers breach me by breaking protocols. Day in day out I suffer data reaches and if this continues, my future is insecure throughout the AI journey. Let me take my seat by acknowledging a new friend that beholds my future journey, Mr OpenAI. I would introduce him in my next story. See you all in the second edition.

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