If back in August last year you read the Significance special issue on Big Data you will know how the streams of digital data, arriving in all-but-unimaginable quantities, are transforming the world. The BBC has now, happily, caught up with Significance. Tonight on BBC2 for UK viewers they are airing ‘The Age of Big Data’, a one-hour programme in the Horizon series, about – well, about the age of Big Data.
In Los Angeles, the police are using it to try to predict crime before it even happens. (We wrote about the joined-up data-city here. In the financial bit of the City of London, one trader believes that he has found the secret of making billions with programmes that analyse the vast data-sets of trades and prices. (Will they ask him about similar programmes that have contributed to sudden stock-market crashes? I only ask.) In South Africa, astronomers are attempting to catalogue the entire cosmos – which we wrote about here. These very different worlds are united by one thing - an extraordinary explosion in data.
Horizon meets the people at the forefront of the data revolution, and reveals the possibilities and the promise of the age of big data. I haven’t seen a preview, so I am hoping it will be good. If it isn’t, read or re-read the Significance issue on it – available on this site here.