A Powerful New Tool Set for Humanity
“In the near future, every object on Earth will be generating data including our homes, our cars, even our bodies. Almost everything we do today leaves a trail of digital exhaust, a perpetual stream of text, location data and other information that will live on well after each of us is long gone. We are now being exposed to as much information in a single day as our 15th century ancestors were exposed to in their entire lifetimes.
But we need to be very careful because in this vast ocean of data there is a frighteningly complete picture of us—where we live, where we go, what we buy, what we say. It’s all being recorded and stored forever. This is the story of an extraordinary revolution that’s sweeping almost invisibly through our lives.”
That powerful opening statement sets the stage for a fascinating in depth look at the dramatic new era of “big data.”
Smolan is an award-winning photojournalist and creator of the epic Day in the Life series. He was also a 2015 Curiosity Retreat Luminary, engaging our audience with real life stories about how the explosion of big data is affecting all our lives.
Smolan says healthcare is likely to be the area of this revolution that impacts people’s lives first. Who hasn’t gone to the Web to diagnose their own illness? Those searches, and the data behind them, have a dramatic impact.
Other stories include a fascinating experiment by an MIT researcher, revealing a breakthrough theory about how children acquire language. And a story about how the explosion of digital information shared on social media is transforming how we respond to disasters like the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Sandy.
But is all this for better or for worse? Every new technology raises that question. And big data certainly has a dramatic impact on our privacy and our future, as we each evolve into virtual human sensors.
Smolan says, at the beginning of this project, he was skeptical. Could the big data revolution really be more transformative than the Internet? He says he is now a convert, convinced that big data could turn out to be the most powerful tool set we have to address the widespread challenges facing our species and our planet.
The documentary has already toured several film festivals, and was honored with the Jury Prize for “Best Cinematography” at the Boston International Film Festival. And the U.S. Department of State selected the film to be shown at embassies and consulates around the world as part of the American Film Showcase.
The Human Face of Big Data is now premiering on CuriosityStream for our subscribers. And you can hear about Smolan’s own quest to learn more about the big data revolution in his 2015 Curiosity Retreat lecture here, and in a ‘behind the scenes’ look at The Human Face of Big Data here.
And then you can begin to decide for yourself about the impact of this new set of technologies on humanity and on you.