John Lund/Getty Images

El peligro oculto de los grandes volúmenes de datos

CAMBRIDGE – En la teoría del juego, el "precio de la anarquía" describe cómo la conducta egoísta de los individuos dentro de un sistema mayor tiende a reducir la eficiencia de ese sistema. Es un fenómeno ubicuo al que casi todos nos enfrentamos, en cierta forma, de manera regular.

Por ejemplo, si usted es un urbanista a cargo de la gestión del tránsito, existen dos maneras en las que puede ocuparse de los flujos de tránsito de su ciudad. Por lo general, una estrategia centralizada y vertical -que abarque a todo el sistema, identifique cuellos de botella y haga cambios para eliminarlos- será más eficiente que simplemente dejar que los conductores individuales tomen sus propias decisiones sobre la marcha, con la presunción de que estas elecciones, además, conducirán a un resultado aceptable. La primera estrategia reduce el costo de la anarquía y hace un mejor uso de toda la información disponible.

El mundo hoy está inundado de datos. En 2015, la humanidad produjo tanta información como la que se había generado en todos los años previos de la civilización humana. Cada vez que enviamos un mensaje, hacemos una llamada o realizamos una transacción, dejamos rastros digitales. Nos estamos acercando aceleradamente a lo que el escritor italiano Italo Calvino proféticamente llamó la "memoria del mundo": una copia digital completa de nuestro universo físico.

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