The cobble stone streets of Annapolis, MD are reminiscent of the past – delegates arriving in horse and buggy from their colonial homes on the outskirts along the Severn River. On Wednesday, May 8th the Miller Senate Office Building was not the home to General Assembly session deliberations but a hub for big thinkers sharing their diverse ideas on Big Data and our future understanding of information. Sponsored by the Future of Information Alliance of University of Maryland College Park, The Big Picture of Big Data featured a panel of some of the world’s brightest thinkers on the Information Age including an introduction by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in which he stressed the importance of taking leadership away from bureaucracy toward a more entrepreneurial, collaborative system using the Information Age to our advantage.
Introduced by FIA Directors Ira Chinoy of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and Allison Druin of the iSchool and moderated by the “Futur-ist in Residence” and Director of User Happiness at Google, Dan Russell, the program focused on two main speakers, Bryan Sivak of the US Department of Health and Human Services and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger of the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of Big Data: Revolution that will Transform How We Live, Work, & Think. Following their presentations which were as diverse as they were fascinating, Jennifer Golbeck, the Director of UMD’s Human Computer Interaction Lab responded to the presenters with some pointed questions and observations, including the lack of privacy in our day to day lives.
Whether we like it or not, technology has greatly effected the way we live, work and especially communicate. While some find the rapid growth and lack of privacy unnerving, changing its course now would be impossible and unproductive. Instead we need to educate ourselves on all the advantages to the vast sea of knowledge we have at our fingertips and use it to help us prosper and increase our quality of life. The folks at the Future of Information Alliance are helping us make that possible, one data set at a time.
Spend some time watching the video from The Big Picture of Big Data below.