Das Digital – Markt, Wertschöpfung und Gerechtigkeit im Datenkapitalismus

Nur noch wenige Tage bis zum Erscheinen des neuen Buches von Professor Mayer-Schönberger! Gemeinsam mit dem preisgekrönten Wirtschaftsjournalisten Thomas Ramge entwirft er darin die Vision einer neuen digitalen sozialen Marktwirtschaft, in der datenreiche Märkte Menschen viel besser helfen sich am Markt zurecht zu finden, aber große Unternehmen, Banken und Geld zunehmend unter Druck geraten. Der Finanzkapitalismus ist am Ende diagnostizieren die Autoren; sehen aber auch im Datenkapitalismus die dringende Notwendigkeit eines klaren gesellschaftlichen und regulativen Rahmens, damit wir nicht nur die Kontrolle über die Datenkraken bewahren, sondern auch die Veränderung von Arbeitswelt und menschlicher Entscheidungsaufgabe schaffen. Das Buch erscheint am 13.Oktober bei Econ – und kann auf Amazon bereits hier vorbestellt werden.  Bis zum Jahresende signiert Professor Mayer-Schönberger jedes Exemplar kostenlos (und sendet es auch kostenlos wieder signiert zurück).

The End of a Sabbatical…

You may have wondered why all of sudden this website fell silent. Well. During the last academic year, I took a sabbatical. I am grateful to the University of Oxford for giving me this opportunity, and enabling me to focus on writing a new book (see separate post). The German edition of the book (“Das Digital”) will appear in October 2017, the English version (“Reinventing Capitalism”) will take a bit longer (US publishers have longer production times) – and appear in February 2018. Back in the saddle. And much more to come. Stay tuned!

The Last Thing that Will Make Us Human

In an essay for BBC future, Professor Mayer-Schönberger suggests that analytical skills will no longer provide a critical differentiator between humans and machines. If humanity wants to continue to stand out, we need to focus on much more human qualities, such as creativity instead. This necessitates a sea-change in our educational system – just at a time when our societal structures are especially ill-eqipped for change.

Big Data and Privacy in Europe

stlr-banner-new1Together with French privacy expert Yann Padova, professor Mayer-Schönberger has writtenRegime Change? looking at how Big Data will fare in Europe under the coming new General Data Protection Regulation that was enacted in 2016 and will come into force in 2018. Published by the Columbia Science & Technology Law Review, the article not only assesses Big Data use in Europe in the future, but also offers a surprising path that may enable some (but not all) Big Data uses.

Technology & Politics

EconomistIn its latest Special Report, The Economist tackles the interplay between technology and politics. In previous US presidential election years, much has been made of the supposedly leveling and rebalancing effect of the Internet: from the ability to fund a grass-roots campaign without the need for “big money” to the utilization of Big Data to customize political messaging and to enhance “get out the vote” (GOTV) activities. In the context of the 2016 US presidential elections, lead author Ludwig Siegele takes another, more thorough look and arrives at a much more nuanced conclusion. He leads into the story with a quote from professor Mayer-Schönberger, who already more than 15 years ago Information Power that has stood the test of time fairly well.

Europa reguliert an den Datenschutzbedürfnissen seiner Bürger(innen) vorbei

280px-Frankfurter_Allgemeine_logo.svgDie Vodafone-Siftung präsentierte die Ergebnisse der größten Umfrage über Datenschutz und Big Data in Europa. Die Ergebnisse sind markant: die Menschen trauen vielen Datennutzern nicht, Datenschutznormen greifen offenbar viel zu unzureichend. Eine große Sorge vor der digitalen Technik schwingt ebenso mit.  Alles Herausforderungen, mit denen der europäische Gesetzgeber leider nicht ausreichend umgeht meint Professor Mayer-Schönberger in seinem Vorwort, Datenschutzskepsis.

Speaking to an audience of more than sixty thousand…

speech1On a recent trip to China, Professor Mayer-Schönberger visited famed Chengdu No. 7 Middle School, and spoke about his new book (with Kenneth Cukier) on Big Data and learning in front of a large audience – with satellite audiences throughout China, a total of over sixty thousand participants – the largest audience he ever addressed in one of his presentations.

Privacy by Regulation

APC2015-logo-431x100Giving the closing keynote at this year’s Amsterdam Privacy Conference, Professor Mayer-Schönberger talked emphatically about the need for new mechanisms protecting privacy more effectively especially in light of Big Data. Contracting his view against traditional approaches, such as privacy through individual rights and privacy by design, Mayer-Schönberger suggested that privacy needed to be protected through direct regulation, ex ante risk assessments, and stringent enforcement.

On the Desire to Use Data

EconomistThe Economist’s Jason Palmer writes in the latest edition about the increasing desire of companies and organizations to use more data and combine data sets to gain innovative (and potentially valuable) insights. This flies in the face of some of the traditional methods of pseudo-anonymization (stripping some unique identifiers, such as names or social security numbers out of data sets), and creates a renewed tension between those that want to use data and those that worry about their privacy. Conventional technological measures may no longer help. Some newer methods are available, but only for niche areas. In the end, classical regulation may have to come to rescue, agrees Professor Mayer-Schönberger, who is quoted in the piece.

Why do websites disappear?

pageHeaderTitleImage_en_USIn a recent article in First Monday, Dr. Francine Barone and Professors Zeitlyn and Mayer-Schönberger asked why websites disappear, taking with them at times valuable information archives that benefit society. Rather than because of the most obvious reasons – political and legal pressures as well as lack of funding – they discovered that often times the reasons for disappearance of valuable online information archives are combinations of multiple factors, including a shift in interest and focus of the individual who maintained the site, often as a labor of love. Based on this complex dynamic of multiple factors, the article makes a few recommendations what could be done to preserve valuable information archives.

Sonderheft “Big Data”

28600-dg-originalDie deutsche Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) hat zum Thema “Big Data” eine Sondernummer ihrer Zeitschrift “Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte” (APuZ) herausgegeben, in dem eine Reihe von Autoren (darunter auch Professor Mayer-Schönberger) das Thema aus sehr unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln beleuchten. Das Sonderheft ist als APuZ_2015-11-12_online verfügbar und im Sinne der Creative Commons Lizenz auch frei zum Weitergeben.

“Data corrupting education”?

OEB_2-14_DebateAt the 2014 Online Educa in Berlin (Europe’a largest conference on the use of technology in education and learning), Professor Mayer-Schönberger joined George Siemens to advocate in favor of data, with Ellen Wagner and Ignatia Inge deWaad taking the other side. Full of hyperbole and joking, but also serious argument the debate was great fun – and the data advocates won (somewhat expectedly) 70:30!

“Big Data can help us improve the process of learning”

BDE_ChinaIn November 2014, Professor Mayer-Schönberger spoke on the amazing potential of Big Data to improve the process of human learning at Huadong (East China) Normal University in front of an absolutely packed audience of over one thousand, with hundreds patiently waiting outside, and many of them lining up for autographs afterwards. He also talked about possible abuses of Big Data in the education field and warned that without proper understanding and an appropriate set of rules, Big Data might cause irreparable harm rather than improve the education system.

Winner of World Technology Award – Law

10671356_10152807285091142_932999345118909357_nThe World Technology Network (WTN) announced on November 14, 2014 that Professor Mayer-Schönberger is the 2014 winner of the World Technology Award in the Law category. Organized in association with FORTUNE and TIME magazines, the World Technology Network chose Mayer-Schönberger from a shortlist of renowned legal academics, including Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain and Stanford professor Barbara van Schewick. Previous recipients of the award include Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, privacy advocate Marc Rotenberg, and Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson. This year’s other awardees include Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk, and Rodney Brooks. Amazing company to be in!

Big Data – Eine neue Sicht der Dinge

Stifterverband_1114Der Stifterverband für die Deutschen Wissenschaft widmete das Villa Hügel Gespräch 2014 der Veränderung der Universitäten durch Digitalisierung und Big Data. Professor Mayer-Schönberger war eingeladen ein Einführungsreferat zu halten. In diesem Kontext entstand auch ein Video-Interview mit ihm zu Big Data als neue Sicht der Dinge – und als neue Quelle menschlicher (und damit auch wissenschaftlicher) Erkenntnis.

Big Data is fundamental

lespressoAn interview in October 2014 on the central importance of Big Data, the role of large data holders such as Google, and the right to be forgotten, with Professor Mayer-Schönberger was published in the Italian journal l’espresso with the knowledgable Antonio Rossano (in Italian). Mayer-Schönberger was in Naples, Italy, to speak at the 2014 Future Forum on the role of Big Data to change our perspective on reality.

“Big Data” now part of Best Writings on Mathematics 2014

An excerpt of our international bestseller “Big Data” has been included in Princeton University Press’ selection of “Best Writings on Mathematics 2014” (edited by Mircea Pitici). “Best Writings on Mathematics” is an annual anthology that has gained rave reviews for bringing together an excellent selection of articles each year. The book’s introduction and its table of contents is available to download for free.

“Aussieben kann nicht Aufgabe von Schule sein”

SZKarin Janker spricht in der Süddeutschen Zeitung (SZ) vom 2.Oktober 2014 mit Professor Mayer-Schönberger über Big Data und Bildung, und warum unsere Gesellschaft darauf achten muss, dass wir Big Data nicht falsch einsetzen. Im Gespräch plädiert er dafür, dass es darum geht den Prozess des Lernens zu verbessern, und nicht Big Data zum exakteren Aussieben junger Menschen zu verwenden. Das Interview wurde im Kontext der Veröffentlichung der deutschsprachigen Ausgabe von “Lernen mit Big Data”, dem neuen Buch von Professor Mayer-Schönberger und Kenneth Cukier geführt.

“Schranken im Kopf”

germany.gifIn einem Kommentar bei Huffington Post Deutschland berichtet Professor Mayer-Schönberger über ein überraschendes und frustrierendes Erlebnis mit jungen ArchitektInnen, denen es schwer fällt sich die Zukunft nicht bloß als Fortschreibung der Gegenwart vorzustellen. Im Zusammenhang mit der Frankfurter Buchmesse schlägt er die Brücke zum Verlagswesen und sieht dort wie da Notwendigkeiten die “Schranken im Kopf” zu überwinden um als Unternehmen und Wirtschaftssektor relevant zu bleiben.

An “intellectual godfather of the right to be forgotten”?

200px-Original_New_Yorker_coverIn a comprehensive, detailed and balanced article (“The Solace of Oblivion“, September 29, 2014 Issue) in the NEW YORKER on the right to be forgotten, how it came about, what it entails and what it might mean, Jeffrey Tobin extensively quotes Professor Mayer-Schönberger, after calling him “one the intellectual godfathers of the right to be forgotten”. Well worth a read.

“Lernen mit Big Data”

LernenmitBDDie deutsche Fassung von “Learning mit Big Data” (verfasst von Professor Mayer-Schönberger und Kenneth Cukier), in der es um Big Data und menschliches Lernen geht, ist Anfang September 2014 beim redline Verlag erschienen. Übersetzt von Andrea Kamphuis (die schon Professor Mayer-Schönbergers preisgekröntes Buch “Delete” ausgezeichnet ins Deutsche übersetzte), beschäftigt sich das kompakte Werk mit der Zukunft der Bildung in Zeiten von Big Data, umfassender digitaler Erinnerungen und ständiger Vorhersagen der Zukunft. Es ist sowohl als Buch als auch als ebook erhältlich, unter anderem bei Amazon.de.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in Int Affairs on “Big Data”

CceiaOver the last months, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs has produced two audio broadcasts on the advantages and challenges of the use of Big Data. One broadcast looks at Big Data’s “bright side”, and how it can help inform decision making. The second part looks at Big Data’s dark side, the permanence of the past, and the challenge of an ever more predicted future. Both feature interviews with a number of Big Data experts, including Professor Mayer-Schönberger, are free to listen to, and can also be found on Stitcher.

What exactly is the “right to be forgotten”?

TheguardianAfter the European Court of Justice’s decision to reaffirm the “right to be forgotten” in its decision against Google, many around the world have felt the need to comment. Some have gone as far as predicting wide-ranging censorship, or the end of free speech. Humbug, says Professor Mayer-Schönberger, whose book “Delete” provided one of the first comprehensive arguments in favor of digital forgetting, and explains in an op-ed (“Omission of search results is not a ‘right to be forgotten’ or the end of Google”) in the GUARDIAN why the European Court of Justice decision is not instituting a true “right to be forgotten”, nor does it spell the end of Google.