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By L'Atelier - Paris October 11, 2012
The enormous volumes of data people generate could help humanity as a whole to get a better grasp of such problems as the increasing scarcity of resources by increasing our knowledge of the way things work on a local and individual level.
Real-time access to data collected by satellites and billions of sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) labels, cameras and GPS-enabled smartphones could help mankind to grasp, analyse and then address some key existential issues. This is the idea behind the Human Face of Big Dataprogramme, as explained at ‘Mission Control’ events in London, New York and Singapore on 2 October. This multimedia participatory project, initiated by photographer Rick Smolanand sponsored by EMC²,a data management products and services company,is based on the crowdsourcing approach. First of all a mobile app is being used to collect basic data on how people move about and to put more personal questions to volunteers. All this information will then be made freely available, for example enabling companies or NGOs to obtain a better grasp of basic societal problems and address them more effectively. The aim of the project is to see how enormous volumes of data can nowadays be gathered, analysed, and visualised in real time. The ultimate goal is to draw real benefits from Big Data by getting close to people’s day-to-day lives and improving the general response to issues in society, such as addressing the increasing scarcity of resources, forecasting and providing alerts on climate-related disasters, regulating traffic and improving people’s behaviour.