The Human Face of Big Data

September 2012

Watch out for The Human face of Big Data coming to a smartphone near you.

The Human face of Big Data is a multi-platform globally crowdsourced project from Rick Smolan, Creator of the Groundbreaking ‘Day in the Life’ Series.

The project represents the most engaging and captivating attempt ever to tap in to and put a human face on the societal impact of Big Data.

An innovative smartphone app, available on September 25, 2012, engages people around the globe using the sensors in their phones and asking a series of thought-provoking questions about themselves, family, trust and other topics.

“Mission Control” events to be held on October 2, 2012, in New York, London and Singapore analyse, visualise and interpret the data collected from participants around the globe.

In early November, “Data Detectives” youth-oriented events are being held to engage students in discovering their world using data collection and analysis. This in turn enables them to compare their opinions, thoughts, concerns and beliefs through exciting data visualizations and graphics.

Later in November, a stunning book of photography, essays and infographics is to be unveiled.

The project is made possible through primary sponsorship from EMC® (NYSE:EMC) and is based on the premise that the real-time visualisation of data is enabling humanity to better understand many aspects of life.

Data collected by satellites, and by billions of sensors, RFID tags, and GPS-enabled cameras and smartphones around the world, can be used to sense, measure, understand and affect aspects of our existence in ways our ancestors could never have imagined in their wildest dreams.

Rick Smolan says his goal with the project is to spark a global conversation about Big Data, about its potential if used wisely and the danger if we aren’t very careful.

“Big Data represents an extraordinary knowledge revolution that’s sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, health care and everyday life. And, like all new tools, it carries the potential for unintended consequences. But if we are careful and wise, in the not too distant future this new set of technologies may have an impact on humanity as great as those of language and art.”

The project began in March 2012 when more than 100 photographers, editors and writers were despatched to every corner of the globe. Their task: to explore the world of Big Data and to determine if it truly does, as many in the field claim, represent a never-before-seen toolset for humanity, helping us address the biggest challenges facing our species.

Check it out here.