Why data is the new coal

Deep learning needs to become more efficient if it is going to move from using data to categorise images of cats to diagnosing rare illnesses The Data Science Institute at Imperial College, London. ‘Deep learning requires very large quantities of data in order to build up a statistical picture,’ says Imperial’s Murray Shanahan. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian “Is data the new oil?” asked proponents of big data back in 2012 in Forbes magazine. By 2016, and the rise of big data’s turbo-powered cousin deep learning, we had become more certain: “Data is the new oil,” stated Fortune. Amazon’s Neil Lawrence has a slightly different analogy: Data, he says, is coal. Not coal today, though, but Fcoal in the early days of the 18th century, when Thomas Newcomen invented…


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