Big Data: How the information revolution is changing our lives

Sat 18 Nov / Quarterhouse

Data has been with us since we first made marks on clay tablets, but big data takes information technology - and its impact on our lives - to a whole new level. The combination of four key pieces of tech - the internet, advanced computers, smartphones and sophisticated algorithms that manage and interpret huge flows of data has made our systems worryingly powerful. In this engaging talk, Brian Clegg looks at how Netflix used big data to turn TV production on its head, why big data encourages airlines to overbook and how it enables unnervingly personal adverts to appear on our computers. Big data presents us with huge opportunities… and challenges. It can make our lives better, from improvements in medical diagnosis to the benefits of a smart home, or it can ruin our lives where jobs are managed by algorithms and our finances are managed with no way of understanding how the decisions are made or appealing against them. Big data is here to stay - so we all need to understand it better.

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