big data

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A Big Egg, Big Bees, and Even Bigger Data

All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks. 

Friday, September 5

We, The Outsiders Opening Reception
We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. More →

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Christian Rudder presents Dataclysm

Christian Rudder is co-founder and President of OkCupid—yes, the same OkCupid that has rescued your “love” life from the doldrums and is now the only reason you ever leave the house even though sometimes it makes you feel as if the search is futile—and he’s now also the author ofDataclysm. The book is subtitledWho We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), and whether that sounds ominous to you or not probably depends on your stance on the highly controversial personal data mining carried out by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and (yes!) OkCupid. Blithely sidestepping the political ramifications of such practices, Rudder instead dives enthusiastically into the social science potential of big data. Dataclysm examines what our online lives reveal about who we really are, focusing intently on the magical potential of the algorithm.