Synopsis

Big Data is coming, and many people are not prepared for the changes that come with it. Already in non-scientific fields such as IT, advertising and in the finance sector, Big Data has changed the way people and institutions deal with information. For example, in 2011 Google Flu Trends was supposed to be the first time Big Data could be used to predict the next flu epidemic. The experiment was a failure and created considerable distrust of Big Data within epidemiology.

In other areas, Artificial Intelligence is predicted to replace many jobs, such as, journalism, leading many to feel wary of Big Data and its applications. As many journalists report on the rising tide of Big Data in the media, medicine, advertising and marketing, little is known of what scientists feel. Are biologists and geographers as embracing of Big Data and does it threaten their jobs? There is only one way to find out: ask them in a series of interviews through the project: “How is Big Data Affecting Scientists?”

Aims

The project aims to:

  • Build an understanding of people's opinions and reactions to Big Data in their respective fields
  • See whether current attitudes to Big Data in other non-scientific fields are manifesting themselves in science
  • Understand how non-science fields have worked to educate people about Big Data and its effects

Student Benefits

Participants in this project will have the chance to interview scientists from around the world face-to-face and online, as well as the opportunity to learn interviewing techniques.

Supervisors: Dr Malte Ebach and A/Prof Wendy Shaw