A week’s a long time in data. And that’s why the Big Data Roundup’s here to make sure you catch up with the highlights of data innovation. From the art-of-possible to divine intervention, we’ve distilled the tastiest data news and views, especially for you.

Listening to connected machines. Literally

Big data is being fuelled by connected machines and the IoT. But it’s rare that we actually get a glimpse of their intelligence in person. Well, IBM Watson’s text-to-speech system has been deployed in a novel way by Finnish ad agency Hasan & Partners to give voice to this intelligence. Literally. The agency’s global elevator client Kone wanted a ‘simple’ way to describe their elevators’ monitoring capabilities. So the ad agency thought they’d let the elevators do this themselves! To do this, several elevators around the world were selected. Data from sensors and controls about their day-to-day performance was collected, processed and given a voice. The realtime effect is quite special.

The hidden big data labour farms 

“If we fail to recognise big data as a society-wide project, we risk squandering an incredible technical achievement: the ability to convert leisure time into material utility.” Big data only exists because of our input; the analytics market wouldn’t have grown into a $130 billion industry without the help of every one of us. Uber, Netflix, Facebook and other businesses built on our data have increasingly transformed our leisure time into productive work, so isn’t it time that we claimed back the fruits of our digital labour?

Does data remove responsibility? The Vatican hits SXSW 

“All the data in the world will still leave room for choices that I have to make,” says Bishop Paul Tighe, the Vatican’s first ever official attendee at interactive festival South by Southwest (SXSW). The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, joined the festival’s ‘Compassionate Disruption’ panel – one of this year’s most talked about SXSW events. And he makes an interesting point: “If we say big data will tell us what’s right or wrong, then I am no longer an agent, and my choices have been determined for me. That doesn’t correspond to my experience of being a human.” So, does data absolve responsibility?

Mapping educational attainment 

Mapping educational attainment

Education is the key to solving the world’s issues. Or, if you listen to commentators these days, it’s data. Right? A newly released data visualisation, Educational Attainment in America, combines both, bringing together education, and data. Data from National Historical Geographic Information System has been used to map out the degree completion rate (from US Census data) across the country, allowing users to navigate across the States and zoom right down to street level.

Data for beer – crowdsourcing intelligence data

“The only tiki bar in eastern Afghanistan had an unusual payment program. A sign inside read simply, “If you supply data, you will get beer.” The idea was that anyone — or any foreigner, because Afghans were not allowed — could upload data on a one-terabyte hard drive kept at the bar, located in the Taj Mahal Guest House in Jalalabad. In exchange, they would get free beer courtesy of the Synergy Strike Force, the informal name of the American civilians who ran the establishment…” Find out the Pentagon’s secret plan to crowdsource intelligence from civilians

Posted in Big data, IoT, Media roundup On March 17, 2017 By