(Published in El Periódico 18/04/2013)
[Es][Ca] Not long ago we used to talk about ‘media’ -new media, social media, transmedia, multimedia- and we still do. Now we have incorporated ‘data’ so we talk about open data, transparent data, microdata, data visualisation, data analysis, and so on.
‘Old media’ and ‘new data’ are both terms used to explain crucial changes that are occurring in communication processes. It is only since very recently that digital and social technologies allow for any piece of information or data to be described in zeros and ones, and stored, copied and shared, infinitely, massively, geolocatedly and in real time.
It is said that from the dawn of civilisation until 2003, humanity generated five exabytes of information -data- and is now generating the same amount every two days. It is true that information and knowledge are not the same, and that one is not wiser or more intelligent for having more information. It is also true though, that most people are connected to the Internet, their mobile phones and/or other devices and that they generate data when working, studying, researching or at leisure.
Companies, universities, researchers, public authorities and also the media generate and collect great quantities of data. They have the ability to store it, control it, decide whether to share it or not with the other citizens, and how to do so.
Depending on how we manage these changes, which affect all areas of our life and all sectors -political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific- we will have one model of society or another. It is, therefore, necessary to talk about this now and decide how to regulate it.
Last year (2012) the group Catalunya Dades (Data Catalonia) was created. This is a network with representatives from branches of the public administration that have begun to allow public access to data, private companies that reuse it, representatives of academia, science and communication researchers, and members of the public.
Catalunya Dades wants to contribute to Big Data Week, a platform that, from 22 to 28 April, will connect more than 25 cities around the world with events relating to data, big data and not so big data. Bringing together scientists, technologists, academics, journalists and businesspeople … In short, it will gather people to discuss the issues and points of view.