With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in ways from the microscopic to the gargantuan: Big Data, a word that was barely used a few years ago but now governs the day for many of us from the moment we awaken to the extinguishing of the final late-evening light bulb. The Human Face of Big Data explores how the real time visualization of data streaming in from satellites, billions of sensors and GPS enabled cameras and smartphones is beginning to enable us, as individuals and collectively as a society, to sense, measure and understand aspects of our existence in ways never possible before. The premise of the documentary is that all of our devices are creating a planetary nervous system and that the massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is suddenly allowing us to address to some of humanity’s biggest challenges, including pollution, world hunger, and illness. But as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents has shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price. Each of us is now leaving an indelible digital trail that will remain forever in our wake. At the moment it’s primarily governments and corporations who are focusing on Big Data and most ‘mere mortals’ are not involved in the conversation; decisions and algorithms and laws are being put in place that are going to affect every person on earth in the near future — but most of us are not paying attention. After nearly two years of research and filming and through interviews with dozens of the scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs pioneering this space, the film captures the promise and peril in the growing revolution around big data, which is likely to have a thousand times more impact on our lives than the Internet.
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