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.”

The Human Face of Big Data, a critically acclaimed documentary based on the best-selling book of the same name by executive producer Rick Smolan, is premiering this week on CuriosityStream.

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.


Related Posts
Behind-the-Scenes Look Inside the Pyramids
Marking A Milestone
Love is a curious thing
Celebrating the Planet and the Parks
1 Comment
  • I can’t wait to watch this, probably will in the next 24 hours AND I should probably wait till I did to post this, BUT I’m hoping this touches on (or more like delves into with a fair amount of detail puts it better), into something interesting I came across that I’ve been researching, as I find subject matter…
    Which in a nutshell is where Big Data leads to so far as if technology, AI, physics, metaphysics, consciousness (and/or spirituality) come together… And where the concepts of biological & artificial superintelligence (i originally used the term hyper-, but my spellchecker wanted super-, hmm, interesting??), evolution of a superorganism, technological singularity leading to an intelligence explosion, noogenesis and all that leads to, relates to, proves or disproves theories like the Fermi Paradox vs. Rare Earth or sheds any light on or could even change our very existence (or reality), as in between pure biological or body & mind (spiritual) and being analog or digital in nature… All the related warnings, theories, concepts, beliefs, ideas from the likes of Einstein–Rosen, Sagan, Hawkins, Kurzweil, Deutsch , Feynman, Wheeler, Everett, Greenberger, Svozil, etc (random list in random order)…
    Then my big interest, is this heading down the path to achieving Frank Tipler’s Omega Point??
    I shall see… Thanks for putting such a personal hot topic of mine up… Can’t wait to watch it…

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage