"Not a chance. The promoters of big data would like us to believe that behind the lines of code and vast databases lie objective and universal insights into patterns of human behavior, be it consumer spending, criminal or terrorist acts, healthy habits, or employee productivity. But many big-data evangelists avoid taking a hard look at the weaknesses. Numbers can't speak for themselves, and data sets -- no matter their scale -- are still objects of human design. The tools of big-data science, such as the Apache Hadoop software framework, do not immunize us from skews, gaps, and faulty assumptions. Those factors are particularly significant when big data tries to reflect the social world we live in, yet we can often be fooled into thinking that the results are somehow more objective than human opinions. Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation."
(Kate Crawford, 12 May 2013, Foreign Policy)
This is a useful initiative, despite its narrow focus on engineering and science. It would be great to see the companion film which profiles creative arts and design professionals who regularly use programming as part of their practice/work.
"JODI has over the years built quite a reputation, especially with their notorious CD-rom OSS/**** (Mediamatic, Amsterdam 1998) which, immediately after installation, executes a takeover of the computer. In 1999 their work was part of exhibitions like Netconditions at the ZKM at Karlsruhe, The Allure of the Digitalat the Tate Gallery in London and the SONAR festival in Barcelona. They were awarded a number of international prizes, amongst which the Webby Awards in San Francisco. JODI disposed of this prize immediately, calling the DotCom-audience 'ugly %commercial sons-of-bitches'. In the year 2000 JODI was present at several international group-exhibitions and festivals, such as the Transmediale in Berlin and Deathmatch at Hangar in Barcelona Even an apparently obsolete medium like teletext did not escape JODI's interference. In 2000 they released their unusual way of thinking on 'Page 379' on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of this medium."
"I take representing digital culture in film very seriously in lieu of having grown up in a world of very badly researched user interface greeble. I cringed during the part in Hackers (1995) when a screen saver with extruded 'equations' is used to signify that the hacker has reached some sort of neural flow or ambiguous destination. I cringed for Swordfish and Jurassic Park as well. I cheered when Trinity in The Matrix used nmap and ssh (and so did you). Then I cringed again when I saw that inevitably, Hollywood had decided that nmap was the thing to use for all its hacker scenes (see Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, The Listening, 13: Game of Death, Battle Royale, Broken Saints, and on and on). In Tron, the hacker was not supposed to be snooping around on a network; he was supposed to kill a process. So we went with posix kill and also had him pipe ps into grep. I also ended up using emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t. The team was delighted to see my emacs performance -- splitting the editor into nested panes and running different modes. I was tickled that I got emacs into a block buster movie. I actually do use emacs irl, and although I do not subscribe to alt.religion.emacs, I think that's all incredibly relevant to the world of Tron."
(Joshua T. Nimoy)
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