The Human Face of Big Data

The Human Face of Big Data re-aired June 2016

About the Program

With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in ways from the microscopic to the gargantuan: Big Data, a word that was barely used a few years ago but now governs the day for almost all of us.

This award-winning film explores how the real time visualization of data streaming in from satellites, billions of sensors and GPS enabled cameras and smart phones is beginning to enable us, as individuals and collectively as a society, to sense, measure and understand aspects of our existence in ways never possible before.

Together these devices are helping create a new kind of planetary nervous system. This massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is also allowing us to address to some of humanity biggest challenges, including pollution, world hunger, and illness. But as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price.

Read more about the program below.

A Closer Look at The Human Face of Big Data

More About the Program

At the moment it's primarily governments and corporations who are focusing on Big Data.  Decisions and algorithms and laws are being put in place that are going to affect every person on earth in the near future — but most of us are not paying attention.  

Through interviews with dozens of the scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs pioneering this space, the film captures the promise and peril in the growing revolution around big data, which is likely to have a thousand times more impact on our lives than the Internet.

Incorporating narrative elements, the documentary focuses on the human side of the Big Data story:

  • Every two days the human race is now generating as much data as was generated from the dawn of humanity through 2003.
  • We are exposed to as much information in a day as our 15th century ancestors were exposed to in a lifetime.
  • In the first day of a baby’s life, the human race generates 70 times the information contained in the Library of Congress.
  • We are witnessing the growth of a global nervous system and each of us has become nerves or human sensors feeding information into and receiving information back from this nervous system.
  • There is a digital exhaust that each of us is now generating simply in the course of living out lives and that will remain forever in our wake.
  • Consumer profiling and Edward Snowden’s release of documents about NSA spying have moved the issues of privacy and the ownership of personal data to the forefront of a national debate.

This visually stunning film also includes conversations with over thirty leading voices in the field of data science, artificial intelligence, technology and digital medicine including Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square; Linda Avey, the co-founder of 23&Me; Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab; Jay Walker, Director TEDMED; Tim O’Reilly, author and futurist; John Battelle, Federated Media; Charles Duhigg, from The New York Times; and Aaron Koblin, former director, Google Creative Labs.   


The Human Face of Big Data was produced by Against All Odds Productions, Inc. and Luminous Content.
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