Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 2

Source: Vishal Krishna/yourstory.com (27 June 2016)

Big Data are mostly discussed for two reasons. The first reason is whether those data that include personal information are safe or not. The second one is about how the data that are provided are used.

To begin with, I need to clarify what I am talking about when I use the term Big Data. CERN also uses Big Data but with another meaning for example. In this post I refer to the specific kind of Big Data that include private information and are mostly generated by humans through social media platforms or records of mobile phone lines.

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#GFI4SD – Post 3: Can the Latest Technology Be Utilised to Transform Safety Nets and Social Protection, and how?

 

On the last day of the first Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development, which took place in Bonn, one of the main topics to be tackled was: Disruptors to Development: Utilising the Latest Technology to Transform Safety Nets and Social Protection.

Disruptive technologies can be used to achieve social change. One of the main reasons for that is the ability that we have to capture and analyze data. In many occasions though, this “power” can be proved to be a double edged sword. As mentioned during the discussion: “technology is a knife, you can use that to cook or to kill people“.

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Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 1

Source: Vishal Krishna/yourstory.com (27 June 2016)

Due to their various applications, Big Data are very often demonized. Being a technological product, Big Data are however neutral. It depends on us, on the use that we choose to apply on them that eventually defines the outcome of the practice. The aspect of Big Data that is undeniable, is the power that they convey (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013). This power can be used both for good and for evil.

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Social Media and Big Data from a Public Sphere Perspective

Jürgen Habermas. Photograph: Martin Gerten/EPA/Corbis

The combination of big data and social media, may both empower development in many ways as well as harm human rights and privacy. Nevertheless, those two diametrically opposed practices will be further analyzed in following posts. In this post, it is briefly discussed how both those perspectives fit into the theory of the Public Sphere.

According to the classic theory of public sphere introduced in 1962 by the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas (1989), public sphere is the discursive space that floats between the private sphere and public authority. Living in the age of internet, many theorists offered diverse perspectives on how the Internet may include public spheres or how it can constitute a public sphere on its own (Dahlgren, 2005; Bohman, 2004). Indeed, it is a huge advantage what modern communication channels offer to us.

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