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 an analyst and digital/social strategist at VINT. His research focuses on the impact of Big Data, Mobile Information Technologies, Gamification and the Web of Things. He can help organizations roll out a Social (Business) Strategy and provide business managers with analysis on upcoming technology trends. He is the co-author of Game On, a report on the business impact of games and the potential of unleashing game dynamics onto business applications and four reports on Big Data. Thomas is also Chief Editor at the VINT research blog and was part of the HOT100 in 2012, a yearly selection of the most promising alumni in Media & Arts studies.


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