Saturday, June 28, 2008

Biomedicine in the Post-Information Age: 4

This is part four of a multi-part blog on biomedicine in the post-information age.

To continue from the prior posts, in the post-information age (when everyone has instant access to enormous amounts of information), many services will be rendered by solo experts, who are not employees of bricks-and-mortar institutions, but who are contracted, as needed, to work on specific projects.

These solo contractors will write on-demand software utilities (very short turn-around time), annotate large databases (so that they can be integrated with other databases), check work done by the staff of bricks-and-mortar institutions (for mistakes and weaknesses, for conformity to some specialized standard), munge non-standard data into any of many standards, do literature/data research, assist in writing grants and proposals, etc.

I predict that there will be big changes in the book publishing industry as solo experts begin writing/illustrating/publishing/marketing/distributing their own books. Basically, we're just waiting for someone to market an inexpensive, convenient high-quality ebook reader. Once we get a good ebook reader, individuals will find that they have the expertise to manage every facet of the book industry. Traditional publishers will have a major role in this post-information age enterprise, only if they are willing to change with the times and use their established marketing and production skills to create innovative books that utilize all of the available facilities of the ebook medium (including seamless links between books and other media). If all goes well, the public will benefit from wonderful books that offer a remarkably exciting (and educational) reading experience.

In the post-information age, turn-around for all sorts of services will be shortened. Users will not tolerate a procrastinating work-force. Solo contractors will be valued for their rapid turn-around and high accuracy.

The skill sets of the solo contractor will change. They will be information integrators, and they will be expected to master ontologies (and the syntax for ontologies, RDF), several high-level programming languages (e.g., Perl, Python, Ruby), collective intelligence tools, web services, at least one highly specialized data domain (such as molecular biology, biomedical imaging, or genetics), and the legal/ethical aspects of their services.

- Copyright (C) 2008 Jules J. Berman

key words: biomedical informatics, medical informatics, big data, metadata, data preparation, data analytics, data repurposing, datamining, data mining
My book, Principles of Big Data: Preparing, Sharing, and Analyzing Complex Information was published in 2013 by Morgan Kaufmann.

I urge you to explore my book. Google books has prepared a generous preview of the book contents.