DiscoverTED Radio HourBig Data Revolution

Big Data Revolution

Update: 2016-09-095


Once invisible details of our lives can now be tracked and turned into data. Will this make life easier or more complicated? This hour, TED speakers imagine how Big Data will reshape our world.

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I'm still going to be right here on the Ted Radio Hour every week ok on with the show this is the Head Radio Hour each week groundbreaking had talked the Ted Technology Design Design at Stanford delivered and Ted conferences around the world gift of the human imagination we had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy rise so you probably don't think about this too much but data is everywhere without even knowing it we sort of crept into the sea where did all the sudden is the champion it's everywhere we go this is data analyst Susan telling her so as we walk around every single day for locations or try the apps that we use tracked if you are in a website anything the deal on that website has likely been tracked we walk by surveillance camera as if we get in a car that has a GPS you have any kind of medical device run a red light camera so it is everywhere yeah some people call this digital exhaust into the idea that he said walking around in the sort of particles of danger surrounding you all the tourists coming out of you yes that's right everywhere we go and I don't think it's possible for any individual person to truly understand everything that they are creating any given time the whole ensure we don't have know this is going on but increasingly we don't have to understand it as will explore this episode technology is doing that for us in ten years the amount information that you would have if your self and computed by being which means we are learning about our world these days I will let us understand how we form and beyond our solar system full twins and a place in the universe that the trick is knowing the difference between a lot of data and too much information does not exist ok information exists and it's ephemeral and when we capture in its data so this episode ideas about big data taking huge amounts of information and making sense of it what's great about it is when we think about the ability for example to sequence the human genome or to look at the universe sport the ways in which we could use data to look at epidemics in the spread of disease were given the spread of ideas back and make a tremendous difference and so I do think we have wonderful kind of tool at our fingertips we just have to be I think a little bit careful with choosing the returns later to describe why exactly we need to be careful but first let's just say Big Data is like super boring term rates like I don't even know people are good like dam of this episode is the most vibrant thing happening in the world today this is Kenneth Cookie A he's a senior editor at The economist and co author of the book Big Data where the hell all that data flying off of us all the time that kind of digital exhaust is changing the way we live if every aspect of living gets this shadow to it this veneer of data suddenly we can learn new things that we never could before and I see it as part of the sort of timeless March that we've been on improving our society by applying our reason to it and art technical skills to it and how our technical skills are really the skills for building and our computers to process huge amounts of data in a way the human brain never could Kenneth explained all this on the Ted stage was the value of big data wow think about it you have more information you can do things that you couldn't do before one of the most impressive areas where this concept is taking place in the machine machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence which itself is a branch of computer science general idea is that instead of instructing a computer what to do we're going to simply throw data the problem and tell the computer to figure it out for itself and will help you understand it by seeing its origins in the nineteen fifties a computer scientist at IBM in Arthur Samuel liked to play checkers so he wrote a computer program so he could play against the computer he played he won he played he won because the computer only the legal move for us so he wrote a small sub program alongside operate in the background and all it did was score the probability that a given board configuration would likely lead to the winning board versus a losing board after every move and then Arthur Samuel it leaves the computer to play itself it plays itself it collects more data to collect more data increases the accuracy of its prediction and then Arthur Samuel goes back to the computer and he plays it and he loses he plays it and he loses any place it and he loses and Arthur Samuel has created a machine that it surpasses his ability in a task that he taught and this idea of machine learning is going everywhere how do you think we have self driving cars change major problem from one which we try to overtly and explicitly explain to the computer how to drive to one in which we say here is a lot of data around the vehicle you figure it out you figured out that that is a traffic light the traffic light is red not green but that means that you need to stop and not go forward the big data is going to transform how we live how we work and how we think the the case are like fifty years from now what what something else that can improve our lives because of big data like in a leak something in our everyday routine so an example will be abit while an aural have a faucet that will be running water for me to wash my hands when I do that'll probably have a sensor that will be taking a look at myself follicles to come down to biochemistry the toilet might turn out to be sort of the centerpiece of the home in terms of health care because you can actually monitor a stool sample on a daily basis if we did it every day we might learn something about the progression of disease that we didn't know before and so wear today that information doesn't help us because we can spot the signal that predicts a pancreatic cancer two years out until symptoms exist now we will be able to spot it because we'll actually have learned something new well they've done something at a different scale in this case analyzing people and their health that's amazing because that's just one small example right so when are we talking about changes in the future unlike a scale of the industrial age or the information age ok so it's a great question the printing press was in some ways the first big data revolution because the time to produce a book and the cost of a book you just fell through the floor immediately the ferry first thing we started doing was we were printing Bibles the same things happen the scribes were riding but it just costs a lot less with more Bibles around but when we had more Bibles in circulation we had more people who could read it more people who want to read the Bible and therefore we had a greater thirst for literacy there was a kind of a movement towards mass literacy soon thereafter it was about Bibles is the production of other works new works that we could of ever even imagined so the idea is that when we increased the amount of something here the amount of printed works we didn't just replicate what we are already doing and get the efficiency gain of lowering the price increasing the volume there was a state change likewise I think that we're in the very early stages of this same sort of revolution you could consider it a few of the Great Age of Discovery of machine learning and of big data we're going to entirely new things because of the new now and there are dark side that data as well it will improve our lives but there are problems that we need to be conscious of and the first one is the idea that we may be punished for predictions that the police may use big data for their purposes little bit like Minority Report now it's a term called predictive policing or algorithm a criminology and the idea is that if we take a lot of data for example where past crimes have been we know where to send patrols make sense but the problem of course is that it's not simply going to stop on location data it's going to go down to the level why don't we data about the person's high school transcript maybe we should use the fact there are unemployed or not their credit score their Web surfing behavior whether up late at night if it fit when it's able to identify biochemistry as well show that they have aggressive thoughts the we may have algorithms that are likely to predict what we are about to do and we may be held accountable before we actually acted privacy was the central challenge in the small data error in the Big Data age the challenge will be safeguarding free will we moral choice human volition we human agency the the the the SoCal if you're talking about things like clean my credit score and my sleep habits and all this is data that's being collected for me from from everyone so is it even possible to opt out of any of this I don't think you can you could see will be similar to opting out of the Internet well you can do that hard to live in the twenty century if you do but it's possible but I believe that Big Data if you will it's sort of like saying I want to opt out of the right angle or I want to opt out of mathematics already complicated place are going to be nervous about all these features of living that are just going to be underneath the surface as the fabric of how things happen life is going to become paralyzing and I think we're in transition so I can appreciate why people are a bit nervous to it but the end the day if they wheel you into on a Gurney into the emergency ward and you have a choice you can have the medical system of the Middle Ages week of the medical system the twenty first century you don't even have to know or care how this stuff works you're probably just can see a game of the anesthesia and save my life because Big Data is going to transform so many features of our lives that were all going to simply accept the modern because the outcomes usually be far far better than they ever could have been if we didn't just wonder if the data as a gentler version of Big Brother the true answer is maybe the Snowden affair should give everyone pause I mean it was sad that it became politicized because what this fellow was saying was not that we're living in the turnkey totalitarian state but that we were laying the infrastructure for this to happen because if we're going to accept big data and all the benefits that we can use it for we need limitations so that we can preserve our fundamental freedoms and if we don't have that these technologies can absolutely be used to the detriment of human beings and we can't let that happen so to cap it I completely respect the idea that the data seems like a re packaging of Big Brother but we can certainly go beyond that simple dualism to deal with the real substantive problems that we have the the you think that the benefits of this are so incredible that they just wore any chance I know I think that the benefits are just so incredible that we absolutely must address these downsides or we can't unlock these benefits and would be stupid society if we didn't get these benefits the the the cookie A is co author the book Big Data he can see his entire attack ad that can take a moment more ideas about big data and Kai rise and listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR the are to headline Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible first to chew Poh lei for twenty three years they've been committed to sourcing the best most noble ingredients they can find prepping them with care and cooking them using simple recipes without the use of artificial flavors colors or sweeteners they spent hours marinade and seasoning and pampering the ingredients to perfection whether their hand chopping hand slicing hand placing our hand matching the ingredients its poll A get the royal treatment every day thanks also to learn best best is an on line financial advice company focused on empowering people nationwide to make smart decisions with their money if you wanna know how to aggressively pay down your student loans to invest can help with that if you wanna know how much you should put aside for savings that can help with that too or how much you should contribute to retirement account yup that to invest will create a custom financial plan to answer those questions plus they pair you with a financial planner to help keep you on track to see a sample plan and get a fifty dollar credit gotta learn best com slash Radio Hour it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR and I rise on the show today ideas that have big data is helping us understand our world and ourselves the the it's fair to say that that that human beings are basically like the equivalent of ones and zeros well we are I guess many people who say there were a little more in a way we are an expression of how nature is he's playing his own game we are and we are biological or presentation from underlying set of rules that works with numbers and then for me beautiful complexity that you can ever think of is mesmerizing she is Ricardo seventeen E and by training he's a physicist I'm a terrific a physicist by training indeed recover works at a company held human longevity and there he applies physics to process manage and understand what the most complicated data sets out there the human genome the most amazing thing that happened the beginning of the smiling yet we start to two FX is today a digital representation of our genome is tied to digitize Master we have digital representation of autumn sun in protein so we are starting to visualize life and digitizing life understanding the data that makes up our genome means that we can study how to make our lives better and healthier and something Ricardo has been working on for years now has explained on the Ted stage for me everything started many years ago when I mapped the first three D printer the Casa for us fussing for a different journey three islands a bit of information some Ro material some energy and can produce any object was not there before I never was that I actually only its new three D printer and everyone dies was my mom so my mom takes the three elements a bit of information is between my father and my mom in this case is a romance and energy in the Simi job that is food and after several months produces me and I was not existing for what amount if information takes to build and assemble a human isn't much is a little how many time dries you can feel again now you can run some numbers and that happens to be quite astonishing the number off for Adams said if I was shaving my thumbdrive to assemble a little b actually feel a hint are tight on funds which applied to two thousand times this is a miracle if life every time you see from now on a pregnant lady she's assembling the biggest amount of information that you will ever encounter forget Doctor forget anything you heard off this is the biggest amount of information that exists this is unbelievable the amount of data takes to create each human being each and every single one of us will be the equivalent to two thousand and ten x filled with thumb drives exactly so could you even begin to compare the amount of data that we generate versus the amount of data that computer generates oh no I think I mean the order of magnitude of how complicated we are is something that we eat every we know in the near twenty twenty we believed it we will have sequence to see a seven hundred are par and that blind to youtube to look like I was more if a kid I mean the amount of data that we will require two mile to the human diversity over on everything that the reason we ever encounter before this day be guessed that you can ever think off so if each human is two thousand Titanic ships filled with hard drives the process that the nice things that nature is much is martyred and then the theoretical physicist so he phoned the language to him bad then compress this complexity in a match compact form and thats wat is d main and a very fundamental part to give instructions to make Day two thousand Titanic work I got use of the DNA is is like a compressed version of those two thousand ten X the DDA knee is much shorter much more complex and much more compact and in February we decided to print it to actually show when books are how large it is an instructor Mun on and that it's about three billion letters cream to make character six happens to be wandering sixty two thousand and six under for to be just for size and structure Manuel to reveal the crack of an event or the famous geneticist who was axed from the first to map the human genome yes cus she printed out the three billion letters of credit enters DNA exact unlike any volumes I had a seventy five volumes of files and six and are pages like encyclopedias yeah so Well come on stage and Doctor Krugman for and you wield these out winners Gino yet on to the state exactly not demanding his flesh for the first time in history this is a digi know if a specific human brain dead baby by page letter by letter two hundred and sixty two thousand pages of information for honoring fifty kilogram and not for the first time I can do something I can actually poke inside and read so let me take a some interesting bouquet like this chromosome fourteen the book under thirty two in the ATP CP jie jie de TT is human is lucky because if for one missed just two actors in this position Director for for believing he would become dumb from terrible diseases cystic fibrosis have no cure for it we don't know how to solve it and is just collector of difference for what we are so that they have your attention the next person as a how to read how do I make sense well for how good you can be assembling his Swedish for nature's destruction no nothing you can crack in your life and the ecological machine learning will build the machine and we train while not exactly what many Russians to try to understand what are those electors and what did they do so we asked Can we read the books and pick your height actually Ken Wood five centimeter Cyprus Ghana pretty good eye color your weekend eighty percent of workers just a break in her second color by using big data at Ricardo esteem can take a random sample of DNA through billions of letters of genetic code and then predict the height eye color all kinds of physical traits of the person that that DNA came from the can even assemble those traits into a biologically accurate human face is a little complicated because a human face the Specter of of these let her learn and teach and share in what is in the face on embedding compress it to so we take the real face of a subject I were an hour I began to show you right now this is the prediction so Ricardo you are showing this face and that it stays I was there this computer generated face of a woman in its side by side with her real face it was amazingly accurate yeah thats wat to do to trace the information the books to the body and this is the biggest challenges in life the oh why do we do we do it because the same technology and the same approach the machine learn and are off this code is our guest and if and how we work how your body work your body ages how does Jesus' generation your body your cancer her and devil on how blacks were easy to work on your body is full personalize menace that is at RT clear complicated challenge the more err everytime we would be confronted with decisions that we never had to face before about life about death about her in the This must be a global conversation we must start to feed the future will be living as a human we don't Fear the tweed understanding that the decisions that we would take in the next year we change course if Easter for the the in the future Carter says the same technology that can predict the face from a DNA sample today could be used to predict and treat disease in fact some of that future is already here you might even heard about technology that allows anyone to sequence the genome and identify potential health problems but as with any massive dataset interpreting that information is pretty tricky City hedge or genome sequencer you've done this I did I did and it an interesting time to happen I A I mean I had a couple of interesting results and some some kind to ask are complications that are present in my family able to explain and so there is these information even for professional is not something you should read by yourself because the beginning I was oh my god I'm going to die tomorrow you freak out yet but it's understandable right and there's all this information staring you right in the face of the UN when you chat with the doctor and Jaren came to discover that it's something that Dick Madison developed lots of Therapeutics around to and I would rather for two noise and not because not means that not taking actions and letting the role of diets that no on how your complications are growing now I have control of it yeah so So when you when you look down the road like five or ten or twenty years from now right how will the world be different because humans will finally have unlock the ability to to read and analyzed and maybe even change that the biggest source of data in the world which is our genome so we arrived we have medicine is amazing today and what we would believe his amazing wedding twenty years personalized medicine will really take the lead means every doctor never peel and we will ever take we know exactly who we work or not for our genome for our body and it would be bad that in mind of our future generation that our kids we laugh at us and how we survive in the Madison that is not based on the assumption would be a cultural moment where precision medicine will be diverse and pasta look like we were in decades trying to understand how to switch on the fire the scientist Ricardo seventeen E U can see his entire cock and how his team can predict faces from DNA had to come so okay the big data as Ricardo just a pretty clear can help us do incredible things but sometimes the conclusions we draw from data aren't perfect sentiment as a wonderful story about any deaths and ice cream consumption whew this is a data analyst says Natalie are who we heard from earlier in the show and she says if you were to plot the data for drowning deaths and ice cream consumption over a given year apparently the Corley beautifully the words and gets by drowning increase so does ice cream consumption and one deaths by drowning decrease so does ice cream consumption will start to think why do people tend to ground because they didn't listen to their Grandma Mae went into the water after they ate the ice cream people tend to eat more ice cream to get over their grief about people drowning you know the story you can imagine the headline right ice cream causes drowning and just by looking at the data you could plausibly come to that conclusion but it would be the wrong conclusion because of course correlation doesn't always mean causation there something the data isn't considering the common factor Scott summer with both things happen and so if you don't have the context that there's a season and is called Summer in which it gets warm and people tend to like to swim and eat ice cream then you miss the meaning and that's a simple example but imagine that compounded and everything that we know the idea here is that as we enter into this age where we rely and more on machines to make decisions Susan says we need to be more careful that there's a lot that can go Ron in the space between gathering information and then interpret it so anyone who view the world if the algorithm understands the concept of seasons because we've trained at that there are seasons and the January's in the winter and June is in the summer then yes that would be fine but you know we're where machines are learning with no previous context and so we actually have to start from the ferry began
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Big Data Revolution