Illustrating the Dangers of Big Data in a Web Comic

Big Data

Illustrating the Dangers of Big Data in a Web Comic

Nov 4, 2014

BIG DATA, ILLUSTRATED: Trying to grasp "Big Data" can be a big headache. Thankfully, this delightfully palatable comic from Al Jazeera illustrates some of the serious issues and questions behind how companies already collect and use your online data. The graphic novella follows multimedia journalist, Michael Keller and cartoonist Josh Neufeld as they meet leading social media thinkers, including Scott Peppet (law professor at University of Colorado) and danah boyd (Microsoft Research), to learn about how data fuels social media, smart meters, auto insurance, and eventually, "The Internet of Everything."

"Once enough people reveal their information, then NOT revealing your information becomes a stigma," Peppet says in the comic. To which Keller adds: "The facts of our daily life become the pillars of someone else's narrative about us."

The comic doesn't address edtech, but it's not hard to see a world where every facet of our livelihoods--including learning--could be dictated by secret sauce algorithms like the credit score: a number that carries so much importance but few understand its computation. Seriously, a "Klout for education" would be quite a terrifying idea.

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