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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

Big Data’s potential dark side in education

THETimes Higher Education (THE) sat down in December 2013 with Professor Mayer-Schönberger in preparation for ONLINE EDUCA 2013 in Berlin, Europe’s largest meeting of digital learning experts, to discuss the role of Big Data in education, and its potential dark sides. In the interview, Professor Mayer-Schönberger warned of probabilistic predictions being used to filter and select students rather than to improve the context in which they learn, suggesting that this would be a dystopian future for education.

“Big Data” finalist for FT Book Award 2013

FTThe Financial Times announced that “Big Data” (co-authored by Professor Mayer-Schönberger and Economist journalist Kenneth N. Cukier) had been selected as one of three finalists of the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award. In a lavish ceremony on November 18, 2013 in London, the decision was announced, together with the choice of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store” as the winner. Delighted and honored by their success to be author’s of one of the three finalist entries, Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier sent their heartfelt congratulations to Mr Stone.

“Big Data zeigt uns die Welt, wie sie wirklich ist”

ZeitOnlineWenn man sich mit ZEIT ONLINE Journalist Kai Biermann zum Interview trifft ist das immer geistreich – und spannend. In seinen Fragen bringt er die Dinge, wie wenige seiner Zunft, auf den Punkt. So auch hier – als er mit Professor Mayer-Schönberger den zentralen Kern von Big Data herausarbeitet, und damit auch die Schattenseite dieser Entwicklung offenkundig macht.

“Big Data” shortlisted for FT Best Business Book Award

FTThe Financial Times announced on September 23, 2013 that Professor Mayer-Schönberger’s recent book “Big Data” (co-authored with Kenn Cukier) has been shortlisted for the FT / Goldman Sachs business book of the year award 2013. The shortlist has been drawn from a long list that filtered many hundreds of nominations. The winner will be announced at an award gala in November in London.

“illuminating and timely”

nytlogo152x23Michiko Kakutani, one of the publishing world’s most respected book reviewer, has read “Big Data” , the new bestselling book by Professor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, and really liked it. In her erudite and comprehensive review published in the New York Times, on June 10, 2013, she writes that with big data the nature of surveillance has changed, pointing to one of the fundamental dark sides of big data that “Big Data” talked about.

The Trust-Busting NSA-Disaster

TheguardianThe Guardian reported this week on the latest NSA mass surveillance revelations, quoting Professor Mayer-Schönberger’s notion that the large US Internet companies, such as Google, Twitter and Facebook have potentially lost what is most valuable and most difficult to regain, the trust of their customers around the world to vigilantly guard their data rather than cooperating with the NSA. If left unaddressed, this might turn into a lasting competitive disadvantage for these firms and for the US digital economy.

Forbes’ Gil Press Reviews “Big Data”

Forbes_logo.svgGil Press, whose thoughtful columns on “Forbes.com” have created a large and loyal following among data analytic experts, interviewed Professor Mayer-Schönberger and his co-author Kenneth Cukier on “Big Data”, and is also reviewing it, giving it a strong nod of approval: “Big Data will be the defining text in the discussion for some time to come.” Read the full review here.

Big Data – an interview

Council_on_Foreign_Relations_New_LogoEconomist journalist Kenneth Cukier and Professor Mayer-Schönberger sat down with Council of Foreign Relations Sharone Tobias for a wide-ranging interview (published April 4, 2013) on Big Data, and its implications for international relations, politics, fleeting competitive advantages, the role of Asia, and the next round of economic innovation.

Book excerpt: “The rise of the algorithmists”

QuartzQuartz just published an extended excerpt from the recent bestseller “Big Data” co-authored by Professor Mayer-Schönberger. In this excerpt Mayer-Schönberger and co-author Kenneth Cukier talk about the impending rise of a new caste of experts, the algorithmists, that are able to shed light into the black box of Big Data predictions, and audit them if necessary.

WSJ op-ed on Big Data and the balance sheet

WSJEconomist journalist Kenneth Cukier and Professor Mayer-Schönberger (co-authors of the bestseller “Big Data”) penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on March 7, 2013, entitled “The Financial Bonanza of Big Data” arguing that Big Data will have a big impact on the balance sheet of companies as we begin to realize the hidden value of data, and companies begin to report it as assets. Their op-ed spurred a lively debate.

“Do I Have the Right to be Forgotten?”

BBC_Radio_4Professor Viktor Mayer Schönberger was featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary this evening entitled “Do I Have the Right to be Forgotten?” In the program exploring the digital footprints that ordinary individuals establish over time, he explained that large companies such as Google collect all the search queries we ever type. Having this ever growing tranche of data about us stored digitally, we fail to have the ability to forget, and in turn lose a great deal of freedom – ironically the very freedom that newspapers and search engines claim to be protecting. Digital memory gives those who have control over digital images of us the power to manage our history.