The Human Face of Big Data

Who is Big Data? That sounds like a strange question because the big data discours is more focused on the ‘what’and ‘how’-questions. Actually we are Big Data. This is exactly photojournalist Rick Smolan take on the matter in his new book, The Human Face of Big Data. The project is more then just a book; it is also a way of showing us how much data each one of us generates, how it’s all connected and how it’s changing the world.

The first part of the project is also about us and starts on September 25th. On this date you can download a smartphone app that’s all about data collection. It gathers the passive data that phones generate such as the number of emails sent, location data, number of steps, noise levels and so on. The data is all anonymized, aggregated and easily sortable. After this period of data collection Smolan will present the data at the launch of the book. Also, on November 8th, a Big Data-related program for students, in collaboration with TEDYouth, will take off.

I will be joining the project by collecting my data using the app. If you would like to join the project please share you’re experiences in the comments. Did you find anything interesting about yourself or your surroundings?

Here’s a video of Smolan giving an presentation on the book and associated project.

About Thomas van Manen

Thomas van Manen is a researcher with a focus on the impact of new technologies and is part of the VINT research program on Big Data, Internet of Things, Gamification, Wearables and Disruptive Technologies. As a innovator Thomas helps organizations translate new technologies and digital trends into ideas and ideas into concepts using research, workshops and pilot programs. Thomas is also Chief Editor of the VINT research blog, part of Sogeti Labs community of technology experts and was voted to be part of the HOT100 in 2012, a yearly selection of the most promising alumni in Media & Arts studies.


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