The future of big data

An incredible amount of data is collected by smart cameras. In public space, and at home. We all know: order something and the next month you keep getting bothered by ads for the same product.

Big data makes patterns visible

It was a varied program, Saturday afternoon in Botanique. Speakers from government, art and science, focused on the future. The audience was monitored while listening. What conclusions are to be drawn from the fact that during the subject of pregnancy some of the attendees were clearly more active? With data you can predict, for example that you are interested in baby stuff. This is useful for advertising, police, government, science, etc. For example to track down criminals, to get to know your audience better and offer them specific deals. Big data make patterns visible and make the abstract concrete, data make the invisible visible.

Visual examination of images

The downside is that it gives an unconvenient ‘1984’-feeling. What if wrong assumptions are made? Does that limit our freedom? Can algorithms distinguish Rembrandt’s paintings or Bach’s compositions from the paintings or compositions that a computer has created based on algorithms, without human hand or emotion? The public thought about the dilemmas.
The audience could also participate in the visual research for images that – according to Google – contain too much violence or sex, by having it assessed live. Striking: the image was judged differently by setting up a mask. Is that artificial intelligence or artificially stupidity?

With a lot of questions I cycled home. I felt like going daydreaming in the park. Or would I might stand out because of deviant behavior …?

The program was composed by wave of tomorrow. With presentations by Mark Graus, Tim van Elferen, Marloeke van der Vlugt, Mark van der Net and Tomo Kihara.

Report and photo credits: Desiree van den Bogaard