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A film by Sandy Smolan

Runtime: 56 minutes

Closed Captioning included

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About this film

Big Data is defined as the real time collection, analyses, and visualization of vast amounts of information.  In the hands of Data Scientists this raw information is fueling a revolution which many people believe may have as big an impact on humanity going forward as the Internet has over the past two decades. Its enabling us to sense, measure, and understand aspects of our existence in ways never before possible.

The Human Face of Big Data captures an extraordinary revolution sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, healthcare, and everyday life. It's already enabling us to provide a healthier life for our children. To provide our seniors with independence while keeping them safe. To help us conserve precious resources like water and energy. To alert us to tiny changes in our health, weeks or years before we develop a life-threatening illness. To peer into our own individual genetic makeup. To create new forms of life.  And soon, as many predict, to re-engineer our own species. And we've barely scratched the surface . . .

This massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to address some of humanity biggest challenges. Yet as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents has shown, the accessibility of all this data can come at a steep price.







“Every powerful tool has a dark side. Every last one. Anything that is going to change the world by definition has to be able to change it for the worst as well as for the better. It doesn’t work one way without the other.” - Jay Walker, TEDMED


“During the first day of a baby’s life, the amount of data generated by humanity is equivalent to 70 times the information contained in the Library of Congress.” -From The Human Face of Big Data


“Each of us now leaves a trail of digital exhaust, an infinite stream of phone records, texts, browser histories, GPS data and other information, that will live on forever.” -From The Human Face of Big Data

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