“Humans, Data and Machines” was the 2018 theme of the annual public lecture series put on by the University of Arizona College of Science. As in past years, the ASA is sponsoring encore presentations of the talks for those who missed the original lectures.

In this next encore presentation of “Humans, Data and Machines,” the 2018 University of Arizona College of Science public lecture series, Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. argues that the concept of “big data” is misunderstood.

Instead of large, singular inanimate manifestations of our proxy selves, what we call “big data” is really just millions of small bits and pieces brought together through a series of algorithmic possibilities.

Del Casino’s live lecture, entitled “There Is No Such Thing as Big Data,” is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (May 17) in the ASA Great Room.

Big data analytics and the robotic futures they engender are clearly producing anxieties for everyday social life, and Del Casino notes that institutions, such as the UA, must manage these anxieties as they rethink themselves in relation to big data analytics and their concomitant robotic futures.

To do this, universities have to double-down on investments in a broad education by asking how big data are represented in society, how human life is being organized in relation to big data, and how an interdisciplinary future can help manage the rapid changes produced by advances in robots and robotic technologies.

Vincent J. Del Casino Jr.

Del Casino is a UA professor of geography and development and Vice President for Academic Initiatives and Student Success, in which role he oversees programmatic and curricular development for online learning and plays a leadership role in the expansion of digital learning experiences on campus more broadly

He earned a B.A. in international relations and East Asian studies at Bucknell University in 1990; an M.S. in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995; and a Ph.D. in geography at the University of Kentucky in 2000.

Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer

Often Misunderstood, ‘Big Data’ Still a Challenge: May 2018