From a transparent and progressive society to unaffordable flights… data has a lot to answer for. This week’s Big Data Roundup takes in some unavoidable truths.

Flying home for Christmas? 

For many, flying home for Christmas is the new driving… And as D-Day approaches, the panic sets in. Many a procrastinating traveller has noticed that the price of the £300 flight they’ve been looking at not 30 seconds ago has now gone up to £400. Airlines are increasingly embracing a “personal pricing strategy” for their seats based on the consumer’s data and how much they think people are willing to pay. But with the growing use of big data analysis, how long will it be before fares stop being linked to variables such as seats sold and start fluctuating according to how many times your mum has texted to ask if you’ve bought your ticket yet?

Mapping the wealth divide

Mapping the wealth divide - the big data roundup

The growing gap between the top and bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder is a topic that’s fuelled recent politic discourse both at home and in the US. Perhaps one of the most surprising trends unearthed by this data is the disappearing middle classes. For the first time in recorded history, the middle class no longer constitutes the economic majority (with the middle class shrinking in 9 out of 10 US cities) as upper and lower-class households comprise over 50 percent of the US population. And when the data comes together, the divides become all the more apparent.

The driverless car of fact checking

The driverless car of fact checking

“When people believe fake news stories, real things happen…” It’s ironic when the plethora of fake stories peddling their news to the unwitting (or even hopeful) masses start to create real headlines themselves. Just last week a man wielding an assault rifle visited a pizza joint in Washington DC because he thought the restaurant was at the centre of a political conspiracy. Sometimes even the savviest news consumer needs a hand to tell “fake” from “reality”. Help is on its way, though – in the form of AI and big data algorithms – a “driverless car of fact-checking” that aims to make sense of the vast world of unstructured data to call out the fakers. Whether we want to believe the data truths… well, that’s another matter.

Open data and the path to enlightenment

Open data is already helping with projects as diverse as city parking, energy use and medical treatments. Such public-private efforts to bring data to the end-user are leading the march toward true empowerment, but only a society that is transparent in every way can achieve true progress. So, could open data be the foundation needed for building a truly transparent and progressive society?

Glasgow in Motion

Glasgow in motion - the data flow of Glasgow

We’ve previously taken a look at the data behind London’s daily heartbeat… Now, thanks to the Urban Big Data Centre we can examine the flow of Scotland’s biggest city too. It’s more important than ever to understand how we live, work, and travel in our cities. So, imagine you could know the most popular cycling route to work, the quality of air on your journey, or how pedestrians respond to weather. Through Glasgow in Motion, you can view and interact with data through time, to better understand movement and other factors that affect Glasgow residents every day.


Posted in Big data, IoT, Media roundup On December 8, 2016 By