Big data is one of those buzzwords that is so popular it almost becomes meaningless. A lot has been said about the role of massive number crunching and now artfiical intelligence and it’s ability to transform medicine. In this piece at the Center for Health Journalism, I explore some of the realities behind these pronouncements. We do live in an era of technological marvel but medicine is a profoundly human enterprise in the best and worst senses and innovation does not come easy.