The Human Face of Big Data
Thursday, March 28, 2013 • 11:45am
The Human Face of Big Data by renowned photographer and journalist Rick Smolan is an awe-inspiring and thought-provoking look into how the mass amounts of data being generated today is relevant to all of us. The colossal scale of information being accumulated in tandem with staggering correlations and emerging patterns that are being made between human activity and the world is humbling and life altering. This information is leading to advances in almost every field, from "match-making to child-rearing, farming to asteroid-hunting, health care to disaster recovery.”
Big Data is a revolution in information and analysis that is changing the world we live in. It is detecting earthquakes in tsunami-prone Japan, keeping traffic flowing on America's highways, foiling counterfeit pharmaceuticals and battling mosquitoes from outer space. The Human Face of Big Data is a rigorously curated compendium of tantalizing essays and stunning photography that are both electrifying and provocative.
The vast collection of data being captured is from billions of ATMs, Internet searches, handsets, postings on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, purchase swipes thru scanners, traffic cameras, and other connected devices as well as compiled 'crowdsourced' intelligence, but ultimately, and more importantly, it's about how that data is analyzed, processed, categorized and ultimately applied. For instance, a powerful portrait of how life is changing in a world filled by a never-ending stream of data is drawn from the constant Facebook updates to signals from our smartphones to new data-driven ways to predict heart attacks in real time.
Another illustrative example that underscores the profound impact of the accumulation and analysis of zettabytes of data being generated in real time in the book is from a caption under a baby’s photograph that reads: "During the first day of a baby's life, the amount of data generated by humanity is equivalent to 70 times the information contained in the Library of Congress."
Quid pro quo: The Human Face of Big Data humanizes the growing world of data analytics and how it is revolutionizing the life sciences versus the prevailing concern that it is becoming Big Brother.
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