Aleks krotoski asks how human beings can cope with a world saturated by data. For some it is clay to be moulded and built with while for others it is the route to self knowledge. But it exists in overwhelming volumes like grains of sand on a beach. Turning it into things we can understand is now an imperative and artists and designers around the world are constantly looking for ways to summarise and symbolise what we are learning about the world around us through this tsunami of numbers.
The programme's contributors include designers Brendan Dawes and Nicholas Felton, Professor of philosophy at the Oxford Internet Institute Luciano Floridi, Scientist and composer Domenico Vicinanza, writer Amelia Abreu.
Producer: Peter McManus.
Domenico Vicinanza is a physicist and a composer, working for DANTE/GÉANTD and he is an external lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
We talk to him about his sonification work, where he translates data into stunning melodies using everything from the smallest cells in our bodies to the infinite expanse of the cosmos.
Amelia Abreu lives in Portland is a PhD candidate at University of Washington's School of Information, where her dissertation research looks at the social aspects of data collection.
She explains the limitations of quantification, and the value of the day to experiences that are not meticulously recorded.
Brendan Dawes is a designer and artist exploring the interaction of objects, people, technology and art using an eclectic mix of digital and analog materials.
He tells us why data alone is not enough, it needs poetry.
Nicholas Felton is an infographic designer and the author of several Personal Annual Reports, known as the Feltron Report, that translate his day to day activities into beautiful graphs and maps.
He tells us about how little details can really tell the story of a year, or even a life.
Professor Luciano Floridi is the Director of Research and Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute and author of ‘The Forth Revolution – How the infosphere is reshaping human reality’.
He explains why humans have always been drawn to quantification as a way to understand the universe, but that too much data, and too much certainty can be a bad thing.