“With great power comes great responsibility.” I’m guessing 4 out of 5 people would attribute this quote to Ben Parker, uncle of Peter Parker, from the Spider-Man movies and comic books.

Research into this quote’s origin finds that it can be attributed to a host of historically significant events and people, including Voltaire, Winston Churchill, and both President Roosevelts. (Sorry, Spidey.) Historically, the unattributed quote dates back to the French Revolution. The following passage appeared with a date of May 8, 1793 in a collection of the decrees made by the French National Convention, which translated is:

“They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power.”

Pre-dating, if you will, all of this is a Biblical verse, Luke 12:48, of which the King James translation is:

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

The quote is so popular most likely because of the simple wisdom behind it. This column started with a comic book quote so let’s ask mygeekwisdom.com the meaning behind it:

“A lot of people think that, once they have some form of power, they can usually lord it over people and abuse it. History has a lot of people showing them becoming corrupted because of great power: Napoleon and Hitler are just a couple to name a few. Even in a small scale, we do see powerful people beat down on the weaker ones. Bullies, abusive spouses, and corrupt politicians are just a few examples of the kinds of people we see every day that use their power the wrong way.

“With great power comes great responsibility” has a simple meaning; if you have the ability to do something, make sure that you do it for the good of others. Highly admired people like Gandhi and Ninoy Aquino have done things that follow the spirit of this message. If you can stop something bad from happening, do it. You don’t have to be a superhero to follow those words of geek wisdom. It’s possible to do small actions that have a big impact in the world.”

In the quality industry and manufacturing there is probably no bigger impact being made than that of big data. In an article on artificial intelligence and big data for Financial Times, Gideon Smith writes, “Theoretically, the availability of ever increasing amounts of information should improve market efficiency…Increased amounts of data do not necessarily lead to increased insight unless you are able to process and analyze the information in a timely fashion.”

Ron Miller, in his TechCrunch.com article, “Cheaper Sensors Will Fuel The Age Of Smart Everything,” writes, “The trick will be harnessing all of this information instead of drowning in it.”

Like Voltaire, Churchill, and Spider-Man before her, Amanda Weiner has appropriated the great quote above, writing, “A number of measurement devices come equipped with internal or user calibration functions. Allowing the user to calibrate their measurement equipment on a more frequent basis gives greater control over the quality process; however, with great control comes great responsibility.”

So read “Calibration Considerations” and all else we have to offer in this month’s Quality.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!