How Big Data Creates Human Flourishing

Mark McCrindle TEDxMelbourne

The future is different to the one we used to know. Life used to be more structured, more sequential, more predictable. The future then was a place to which we were headed. You could make decisions, set plans and so track towards it.

But no longer are we journeying towards the future- the future is coming at us at increasing velocity and unknown direction. The speed of change is such that the great unknown is speeding towards us.

Robotics, automation, big data, AI, predictive analytics and machine learning are just some of the fragments of this future that have already arrived.

Digital technology is now ubiquitous and in this Internet of Things world, we have around 7 times the number of connected devices on the planet as there are people.

In recent times, many have been let down by technology through data hacks or privacy breaches- and there is a temptation to respond by opting out, turning off and increasing our scepticism.

We have all seen the challenges that this can bring but digital technology and the data it collects, while not without problems, can be used as a force for good.
Today’s incredible digital technology will be used for what technology has always been used to do: to make life better, connect people, improve productivity and learning, enhance communities, improve health and enable human flourishing.

The data-tracking, information producing technology of our device-laden world ought be seen in its proper context. Before we opt out, consider that from guiding us around road congestion to tracking illness hotspots, the data of others helps us, just as our data guides another’s journey. We are more than a number- but our choices, behaviours and circumstances produce numbers that can create a clearer picture of our society, and in doing so, improve it.

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