I work in web, I collect data, lots of it, for all sorts of different clients for all sorts of different reasons, but I don’t feel good about it.
This data is taken away to be injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected! (thanks Arlo), and spat back out in the form of ‘Something I May Like’. But it isn't something I may like it is something that someone wants to sell to me.
This is my moral conundrum, and it doesn't help that I feel data floating around is like little tiny lost pieces of our souls, slowly being disseminated. I want to give something back, back to the owner of this data, something a little more than a document to download or tips in their inbox.
Yes some data is used to make our lives safer, better, healthier, easier, longer, and some of that is in the right direction, especially the data used to give people a better quality of life and to save our planet.
But a recent report found that large companies that had adopted big data analytics “have gained a significant lead over the rest of the corporate world.”
Does that make me happy?
Practically, anyone who makes, grows and sells anything can use big data analytics to make their processes more efficient and their marketing more targeted and cost-effective.
Well that is good, but still all about business.
What about the person, the owner, that donated their data, how does it help them?
And what makes it worse, is a massive amount of data collected isn't even used at all it is stored, lonely, as no-one really knows what to do with it, so these little pieces of people’s souls are sitting there in large vaults neglected and forgotten.
What is it that Eric Schmidt said. “We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.”
What to do?
Then one day I came across data visualisation, not the pie chart kind, but great big fun works of art taking peoples’ data and making it beautiful. Now THIS is giving back.
Art is something to be enjoyed, it’s a talking point, a statement, something you can feel part of, quite literally. Imagine, a chance to give back to your audience, fan base, loyal customers in the form of public sculptures or office walls adorned with big beautiful, relevant data.
Move over Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, art is no longer about you, but about all of us. Each little piece.
And this is actually perfect timing as the world is moving away from top down ‘old power’ to crowd fueled ‘new power’. Let our art follow suit.
Now I don't have lots of data hanging around from which to create this art but I am having an exhibition in which I allow the weather to influence the landscapes I have ‘taken’ from nature, thus giving back.
If you would like to attend this event and are happy to give me a tiny piece of you data I can add you to the guest list for an evening of art, wine and giving back.