UPCOMING SKEPTALK

Mike Olson

WHAT: Big Data: What it is, how it’s used, where it’s headed
The world-wide explosion in data is driven by three important trends: The increasing digitization of the world, in which people and the environment have been outfitted with sensors that generate digital data; enough inexpensive storage technology to keep vast amounts of information that was previously discarded; and large-scale computing systems that can process all of it.

The advent of “big data” has driven enormous commercial and social benefits. Industries are more efficient, we produce more energy more cleanly and we diagnose and treat diseases better, all because of big data. At the same time, big data creates new and sometimes surprising problems. Our anonymity, and thus our privacy, is eroding. It is easier to target and to manipulate individuals and groups. And large amounts of data are an irresistible target for criminals and adversaries, leading to data breaches that cause real social and economic damage.

In this talk, I’ll provide some history on the advent and trends in big data. I’ll describe some of the exciting, and the troubling, examples of its transformational power. And I’ll highlight ways in which it is likely to evolve in the near future — and what we, as a society, ought to do about it.

WHO: Mike Olson
Mike Olson was a co-founder and CEO of Cloudera, the first enterprise-focused big data company, in 2008. He served in that role for five years, and became the company’s Chief Strategy Officer in 2013. He spent eleven years working closely with customers and the open source software community to deliver powerful new insights from big data, built on a new platform for large-scale data analysis. He retired in the summer of 2019. He holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and spent his career prior to Cloudera working on open source database management platforms including Postgres and Berkeley DB. He lives in Berkeley, California.

WHEN: 7:30PM Thursday 13 February

WHERE: La Peña Lounge, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley [Map]

HOW: This event is presented FREE by the Bay Area Skeptics.

WHY: Because we’re curious creatures.

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