Most confusing tech words of the decade

  • Technology
  • Monday, 19 Mar 2012

We are only three years in to the second decade of the 21st century but big data and the cloud are already shaping up to be the most confusing technology buzz words of the decade.

On March 15 The Global Language Monitor, a company that measures the frequency in which words and phrases appear in global print, electronic media, and on the Internet, deemed Big Data the biggest buzzword of the decade.

According to IBM we’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. The data comes from sources all over the world — from the messages you send your friends on Facebook to the sensors that gather climate information. These large subsets of data are often defined as big data.

We’re creating so much data now that “90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone,” says IBM. It’s a challenge for many companies to manage as it typically exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems, explains O’Reilly’s Edd Dumbill.

The cloud is an equally vague term that is used to describe software or information as a service (or in simpler terms, Internet-based computing). The Global Language Monitor has named it the second most confusing technology buzzword.

Additionally confusing tech words that are frequently appearing in blogs and online include the next big thing, social discovery, the Web 2.0, solid state and 3G/4G/5G.

For the last decade (2000 - 2009), tech jargon such as HTTP, Flash, the god particle, iPod, megapixel and nano were among the most confusing words, according to The Global Language Monitor.

The Global Language Monitor’s Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011 & 2012):

Big data: Big data is the biggest buzzword. It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the United States’s place in global economics, and more. Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there

The cloud: The cloud, in various manifestations, has been ranked No 1 for 2008, No 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012.

The next big thing: A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by Venture Capitalists, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc. Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.

Social discovery: Webster’s 1910 definition, “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.

Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on): Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.

Solid state: As in solid-state disks (SSDs). Remember solid-state televisions switched from vacuum tubes (paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ‘80s (mesozoic)? Today, it’s all about SSDs.

CERN: You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up by the mini black hole it just might create. (The european organization for nuclear research)

Solar max: In the 1850s telegraph wires melted. Best not to shuck off the hype here.

De-dupe: First we dupe, then we de-dupe. Flash forward to 2014: Re-duping! Ah, the next big thing!

3G/4G/5G: One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (generation) standard expands into meaningless.

SoLoMo: This is not an oh-so-trendy neighbourhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar. This is the convergence of social, local, and mobile. — Relaxnews 2012

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