The positive and negative of Big Data

The positive and negative of Big Data

Panel discussion explores the public’s relationship with Big Data.

By Anne Craig

March 23, 2017


The Queen’s University Big Data 175 events will conclude with a panel discussion on Big Data Futures. Today’s panel features two world-leading Big Data experts – Evelyn Ruppert and Frank Pasquale. They will discuss the public’s relationships with digital devices and data.

“Big Data practices are used, among others, by the giant internet and phone companies and increasingly by security agencies and police so how these data – frequently including those gathered from social media and games – are analyzed and used are of great interest to everyone,” says David Lyon (Surveillance Studies Centre).

The Big Data events are part of the Queen’s 175th anniversary celebrations – a year-long exploration into the pros and cons of Big Data in fields such as health care, marketing, and national security.

Big Data is large amounts of data that can be used to spot business trends, prevent diseases and combat crime, among other uses. These data sets are so large that traditional data-processing applications are inadequate to deal with them.

Dr. Ruppert is a professor of sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She studies the sociology of data specifically in relation to how different kinds of data are mobilized to enact and govern populations. Dr. Pasquale is an expert on the law of Big Data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and algorithms.

“We hope to debate not just the meanings of Big Data but its challenges to traditional modes of data analysis and to conceptions of privacy, civil liberties and even of how we think of ourselves as human. This is a key social, political and cultural issue of our day that demands a multidisciplinary and ethical approach for which a university campus is ideally suited,” says Dr. Lyon.

The panel discussion takes place Thursday, March 23 in Room 1102 in the Biosciences building. There is a reception starting at 5:45 pm with the discussion starting at 6:30 pm.

For more information visit the website. Watch a live stream of the event here.