Introducing the Human Face of Big Data

Sometimes, in the technology world, the hype wildly overstates the real power or impact of a new product or idea. But ironically, sometimes the hype does the opposite: it actually masks the real-world transformations that are being shaped by a powerful new concept in our industry. After all, nothing was more hyped than the dot-com boom, or more publicly lamented than the dot-com bust that followed. But underneath the mountains of news coverage and pundit predictions, the internet and web quietly marched on, and completely transformed how we use digital information to communicate and collaborate across our business and personal lives, even in ways the best experts of the day could not predict.

The same is true of big data. While the analysts argue about definitions, the vendors promote technologies and the cynics angst about the hype, people all over the world are already busy using today’s emerging capabilities to gather, analyze and visualize breathtaking amounts of data in ways that are often so creative and impactful that they can truly be called inspirational. They are making a positive impact on the world today—and giving us a glimpse of a future where the power to analyze data translates into the power to see our world with greater insight and clarity.

A new breed of data scientists (although most of them have probably never even heard that term) are using the insights and epiphanies they are gaining from big data to re-shape how we live, work, play, govern and heal ourselves and our world.

That’s why everyone at EMC is so excited to be part of the Human Face of Big Data project. Through this project we believe we can help shine a light on big data in a way that shows all of us the real-world impact this phenomenon is having today on the world around us, through the eyes of the teachers, researchers, artists, visionaries, small business owners and health care professionals that are making it happen.

Sure, EMC has a vested interest in big data—after all we are a leader in providing the technologies and expertise that help make it a reality. But the Human Face of Big Data project is more than a marketing exercise. Coming across this project, and deciding to sponsor it, was like finally finding the right word to describe an idea or emotion you’ve been wresting with for months—our participation is the way for us to fully express what we see as the tremendous opportunity of big data to address some of our world’s most intractable problems, such as hunger, crime, and disease. And it’s a way for us to inspire others to transform their businesses and organizations to deliver better products and delight customers, and pursue their missions, no matter what they may be.

The emergence of big data will be a journey. None of us know for sure where it will take us—but we at EMC believe it will take us to new heights of creativity, insight and positive impact on the world we live in. We hope you join us for the journey by joining the project, and adding your own experiences to the Human Face of Big Data. Learn more about the project by visiting, and register to be part of the world’s largest crowdsourced portrait of the human race ever conducted.

About the Author: Brian Fitzgerald