Big data for development

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Intel Free Press

By SciDev.Net

The volume and variety of digital data have grown in recent years, as have analytics capacities — a phenomenon dubbed ‘big data’. What drives the promise of big data, what are the risks and criticisms, and how can development benefit from the ‘data revolution’?

This Spotlight presents an in-depth analysis including opinions, facts and figures, and key resources. It features views on the debate by Sanjana Hattotuwa, human rights activist, TED fellow and founder of citizen-journalism initiative Groundviews, and Michail Skaliotis and Ceri Thompson, leading experts on statistics and big data at Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistical division.

It includes podcast interviews with Alex `Sandy’ Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program; Patrick Ball, executive director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group; and Philipp Schönrock, director of development think-tank CEPEI.

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SciDev.Net is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Through our website www.scidev.net we give policymakers, researchers, the media and civil society information and a platform to explore how science and technology can reduce poverty, improve health and raise standards of living around the world. We also build developing countries’ capacity for communicating science and technology through our regional networks of committed individuals and organisations, practical guidance and specialist workshops. SciDev.Net’s vision is to achieve better-informed decisions by individuals and organisations in the developing world on science and technology related issues, and thus the better integration of scientific knowledge and technological innovation into policies, programmes and projects intended to achieve sustainable development at all levels of society.