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AG RIGHT: What Star Trek, androids and agriculture have in common

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation featured a pasty-faced male android named Data. His name was always pronounced Day-ta (long "a" in the first syllable), never Da-ta (short "a" in the first syllable).

Jonathan Knutson

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation featured a pasty-faced male android named Data. His name was always pronounced Day-ta (long “a” in the first syllable), never Da-ta (short “a” in the first syllable).

I thought of Data recently as I worked on the May 30 Agweek cover package, which looks at big data. It’s an murky, evolving and complicated issue that holds promise for ag. Though there’s no single or simple definition, big data involves collecting many small pools of data into one huge data set. The assembled data is analyzed to provide better information that can lead to better decisions - in theory, anyway.

Big data taps into precision agriculture, which already has an important, growing role in ag. So if you’re involved in precision ag - and many aggies are, at least to a limited degree - big data is worth checking into.

There are questions about big data, including cost, privacy and who will reap the benefits. The cover package addresses these, too.

In researching and reporting the story, I’ve heard or said data several hundred times. Roughly half the time I’ve heard it as “day-ta”, half the time as “da-ta.” I find myself using both pronounciations. (Online pronounciation guides are inconsistent, too.)

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But I am sure of this: big data has potential in agriculture, and we’ll hearing more about it.

To read more of Knutson's blog posts, click here .

Related Topics: TECHNOLOGY
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