big bang data    All of us create a load of data every day be using our mobile phones, computers, social networks, digital cameras and videos, in our bank transactions, purchases, the way we use our gps and so on. The thing is, it’s easier and easier to get hold of that data and put it all together. And, after interpreting that data, it’s easier and easier to find out about and transform our behaviour, consumer habits, investments, ideology, friendships… If the 20th Century was the century of petrol, the 21st Century’s black gold is Data. We live in a time of data explosion. Our lives are more and more guided and influenced by data we receive from others or from data we create ourselves. data jungle can be used to control society and also be a source of wealth... It can also be an efficient tool for working with knowledge, prevention and transparency. Who tips the balance one way or the other, and how?

Awareness of this and reflection about it has grown in the last five years. As well as in the world of public authorities and business, the new world which we are creating, a world which is based on data which is making considerable changes to society, is of special interest in the academic world, in scientific, cultural and sociological spheres. There are many different types of challenge in this new, data-based new reality:

The weight of the Cloud

Our insatiable need for data has created an important industry around it. The cables, frequencies and such like which go all around the world are not to be taken lightly from the ernergetic point of view.

Information explosion

In order to obtain data, there is ceaseless development of means of transmitting and collecting it. This development has become incredibly fast over the last fifty years. The quantity of data being created at every second is so large that data gathering and logical and effective management has become indispensable.

Examining data

In order to manage the mass of data created by governments, companies and scientific organisations, new forms of data gathering and interpretationare needed. The transmission of mass data has brought new methods and techniques for examining data. And, at the same time, new types of jobs: so-called data scientists, who examine data and translate information.

Converting the world into data

As well as the ease of gathering large amounts of information, it has also become easy to create information. How? Thanks to the sensors which are springing up all over the world: GPSes, the monitoring of personal and goods traffic, devices for measuring air quality, closed circuit cameras, traffic cameras, digital production chain control…

Explaining the world using data

Along with the creation of modern statistics, a new way of understanding the world, based on data, has arisen. From having been explained and examined objectively, there is now a tendency to examine data subjectively. Social behaviour, feelings and thoughts are explained using data. Until recently, that data was obtained using scientific, industrial and administrative methods. Nowadays, thanks to Web 2.0, we create that data ourselves whenever we use the web. We give out information about our desires, fears, hopes and wishes and, by using sentiment analysis, our collective, commercial, political and sexual priorities become data. By feeding considerable information to the social networks, we become products ourselves. The people who trade in our data are known as Data Brokers, and they are very important in the economic model which supports the Internet.


When taking decisions, there are many opportunities to use only data to do so, but that involves risks as well. The main risk of datacentricity is believing that the answers to everything can be found in data. Society needs mechanisms which are based on subjectivity. We must hold onto a degree of ambiguity to avoid all the answers being kept in storage in a data centre.

We are aware that data cannot explain absolutely everything. And that’s why we, the citizens, have to realise that we cannot let other people manage and use our data. It isn’t a good idea for us to be mere passive consumers when there are people out there exploiting our data; it’s important for us to know about and stand up for our rights to access that data. Numerous public authorities, organizations, groups and activists have defended open data policies, transparency and citizen participation. In addition, many platforms and new ways of taking part have been developed out of ¨official web¨ and large web companies’ control. Civio foundation is one such (

Some people may ask why the balde is talking about this. It’s because we went to the Big Bang Data exhibition at CCCB in Barcelona. And, right there, various works of art interesting points of view stimulated us to think about the data world. Art’s good for that too…