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Archive for the ‘big data’ category

Aug 3, 2017

The human insights missing from big data — By Tricia Wang | TED Conferences

Posted by in category: big data

“Tricia Wang demystifies big data and identifies its pitfalls, suggesting that we focus instead on “thick data” — precious, unquantifiable insights from actual people — to make the right business decisions and thrive in the unknown.”

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Jul 1, 2017

Misunderstanding Terrorism — With Marc Sageman | Radio Cafe

Posted by in categories: big data, counterterrorism, governance, government, information science, policy, terrorism

There is a radio edit (about one half hour) and an unabridged version (about one hour long).

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Oct 20, 2016

Your Phone Company Might Buy Your Cable Company — By Abigail Tracy | Vanity Fair

Posted by in categories: big data, internet, media & arts, mobile phones, policy, satellites

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“AT&T and Time Warner are reportedly in talks about a potential merger.”

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Sep 29, 2016

What It’s Like to Fight Online Hate — By Anna North | The New York Times

Posted by in categories: big data, business, governance, innovation, internet, journalism, law

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“Brittan Heller has a hard job. The Anti-Defamation League’s first director of technology and society, she’ll be working with tech companies to combat online harassment.”

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Sep 14, 2016

This Company’s Business is Opening Up Government Data — By Paul Bennett | Techonomy

Posted by in categories: big data, governance, government

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“What do Boston, Mass., and Barcelona, Spain have in common with consumer internet platforms like Yelp and Zillow? They’re taking advantage of a growing open-data trend.”

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Aug 24, 2016

Steve Fuller’s Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Posted by in categories: big data, bioengineering, biological, bionic, cyborgs, disruptive technology, energy, evolution, existential risks, futurism, homo sapiens, innovation, moore's law, neuroscience, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, singularity, theory, transhumanism

My sociology of knowledge students read Yuval Harari’s bestselling first book, Sapiens, to think about the right frame of reference for understanding the overall trajectory of the human condition. Homo Deus follows the example of Sapiens, using contemporary events to launch into what nowadays is called ‘big history’ but has been also called ‘deep history’ and ‘long history’. Whatever you call it, the orientation sees the human condition as subject to multiple overlapping rhythms of change which generate the sorts of ‘events’ that are the stuff of history lessons. But Harari’s history is nothing like the version you half remember from school.

In school historical events were explained in terms more or less recognizable to the agents involved. In contrast, Harari reaches for accounts that scientifically update the idea of ‘perennial philosophy’. Aldous Huxley popularized this phrase in his quest to seek common patterns of thought in the great world religions which could be leveraged as a global ethic in the aftermath of the Second World War. Harari similarly leverages bits of genetics, ecology, neuroscience and cognitive science to advance a broadly evolutionary narrative. But unlike Darwin’s version, Harari’s points towards the incipient apotheosis of our species; hence, the book’s title.

This invariably means that events are treated as symptoms if not omens of the shape of things to come. Harari’s central thesis is that whereas in the past we cowered in the face of impersonal natural forces beyond our control, nowadays our biggest enemy is the one that faces us in the mirror, which may or may not be able within our control. Thus, the sort of deity into which we are evolving is one whose superhuman powers may well result in self-destruction. Harari’s attitude towards this prospect is one of slightly awestruck bemusement.

Here Harari equivocates where his predecessors dared to distinguish. Writing with the bracing clarity afforded by the Existentialist horizons of the Cold War, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener declared that humanity’s survival depends on knowing whether what we don’t know is actually trying to hurt us. If so, then any apparent advance in knowledge will always be illusory. As for Harari, he does not seem to see humanity in some never-ending diabolical chess match against an implacable foe, as in The Seventh Seal. Instead he takes refuge in the so-called law of unintended consequences. So while the shape of our ignorance does indeed shift as our knowledge advances, it does so in ways that keep Harari at a comfortable distance from passing judgement on our long term prognosis.

Continue reading “Steve Fuller's Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari” »

Aug 5, 2016

This startup uses machine learning and satellite imagery to predict crop yields — By Alex Brokaw | The Verge

Posted by in categories: big data, business, machine learning, satellites, space

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“Instead, Descartes relies on 4 petabytes of satellite imaging data and a machine learning algorithm to figure out how healthy the corn crop is from space.”

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Jun 11, 2016

Why Cognitive Business Operations Will Change The Way We Work — By Vijay Pandiarajan | Forbes

Posted by in categories: big data, business, computing

Cloud shaped set of icons with symbols of services and activities connecting planet Earth, floating in the outer space, surrounded by a complex network of glowing nodes linked by bright lines, extending in the deep blue space around the globe. Global business and communication technology connecting everything through cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Dark blue background.

“What does it mean for a business to get things done? How does it channel the energy and activities of all its knowledge workers as they work?”

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Apr 25, 2016

“Smart Homes?” Not Until They’re Less Dependent On The Internet — By Jared Newman | Fast Company

Posted by in categories: big data, business, computing, innovation, internet

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“Buying into a smart home ecosystem is sort of like selecting a holy grail in the Temple of the Sun. Choose poorly, and everything crumbles.”

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Apr 14, 2016

Website Seeks to Make Government Data Easier to Sift Through — By Steve Lohr | The New York Times

Posted by in categories: big data, government

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“This abundance of data can be a gold mine for discovery and insights, but finding the nuggets can be arduous, requiring special skills.

A project coming out of the M.I.T. Media Lab on Monday seeks to ease that challenge and to make the value of government data available to a wider audience. The project, called Data USA, bills itself as “the most comprehensive visualization of U.S. public data.” It is free, and its software code is open source, meaning that developers can build custom applications by adding other data.”

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