Reining in tech: responsibility, regulation and education

Our Christmas episode was recorded under the auspices of Janus, the god of all things related to time. Now into the month named after him, the SmallDataForum reviews its predictions and looks at the year ahead:

Will Europe ‘take back control’, or will commercial pressures curb big tech’s enthusiasm? Will 2018 be the breakthrough year for chatbots and DPAs (digital personal assistants), both in business and personal use? How will continuous technological and economic transformations affect connections between people?

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Looking forward by looking back

Janus

As the Small Data Forum progresses through its early teenage years – our latest podcast is episode 14 already – regular co-hosts Thomas Stoeckle, Neville Hobson, and Sam Knowles are taking the opportunity to look forward by looking back.

Patients of our own medicine, you might say, we’re using the year end and what we’ve observed and learned in 2017 to enter the predictive analytics business.

We take our inspiration from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and time, after whom January is named. A sculpture of Janus appears at the top of this blog, from the Vatican Museum.

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Make sense of Big Data with the #SmallDataForum podcast

Big Data

Welcome to www.smalldataforum.com, the new home of the Small Data Forum podcast.

What started off as a breakfast seminar in May 2016 about the business value of Big Data quickly became a regular monthly podcast.

16 months on, our purpose remains unchanged: Neville, Sam, and I strive to make sense of Big Data for business and communications.

In this time, we have produced 11 episodes, all in the same format of a sober German aiming – and occasionally failing – to reign in two unruly effervescent Brits. And not just in discussions of Brexit.

And I’m sure the outcome of the German elections will form a topic for our next gathering. As I’m writing this, Frau Dr. Merkel wins a fourth term in office, in all likelihood in a ‘Jamaica’ coalition with the Greens and the Liberals. And a far-right party is winning perhaps more than 13%.

How good were the polls? What role did fake news play? Was it a Big Data election? Answers in the next podcast!

So yes, the format will continue, and in future we will also have regular guests to widen our, and perhaps our audience’s, horizon.

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11: Winning with data, the fallacy of rational decision-making, and the future of fake facts

For the 11th time, the SmallDataForum convened – this time to explore questions related to the opportunities and challenges of data in business, the rational and emotional side of decision-making, and the continuing erosion of trust and confidence in the truthfulness of information.

Stephen Fry’s fabulous narration of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes formed the backdrop to musings about data sleuthing and the skill sets required for successful forensic analytics.


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09: Back to the future or fast forward to a new normal?

News is neither a fixed nor a finite entity. There are some periods in history when it feels like there’s just more happening than at others.

I’m not talking about the Dark Ages (which suffered a blackout from not just newscasters but also historiographers). I’m talking about periods in one’s life in the early 21st century when it feels as if there’s more going on globally and geopolitically than at others.

Now of course, the growth of social media, driven by the democratisation of mobile technology and the explosion in smartphones in particular, has had a profound impact on the way that news is gathered, shared, and amplified.

Today, anyone with a smartphone and a decent 4G or WiFi connection, can become a citizen journalist, blogger, or vlogger. But the mere presence and widespread availability of technology and means of data transmission cannot – in and of themselves – create more news.


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