Big data is a term that describes handling and analyzing evolving data that is in the petabyte and exabyte range. It is predicted that when stored data reaches these sizes unknown trends and patterns will emerge that are not found in smaller data sets. However, when data reaches these sizes, it becomes much more difficult to quickly analyze all the data and find patterns as the data continues to evolve.
Examples of big data include analyzing the transactions made at a retail giant such as Walmart, processing Twitter posts, and tracking financial markets.
Big data may help to predict future events by analyzing global trends. Critics argue that big data is a violation of privacy, and a potential tool for governments and corporations to spy on individuals.