Responding to a call from renowned architect and MIT professor Carlo Ratti from the Biennale in Shenzhen, Professor Mayer-Schönberger teamed up with Heinz Machat to write a paper on deliberate digital emptiness in urban areas. The paper was selected for the Biennale. It never made it, however, because the Chinese authorities decided to censor some of the selected papers and in response the Biennale organizers decided to withdraw all papers from the Biennale. Instead they got published online on Archdaily here.
On 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.
In 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.
Economist 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.