The evening’s speakers, Professor Mike Savage from the London School of Economics and Isabelle Sonnenfeld, lead of Google’s News Lab in Germany, are both eminent experts in understanding the importance of digital media and big data for modern societies and their study.
Mike Savage will argue that social scientists are pioneering a new kind of data-based analysis which is attracting growing public interest. He will show the enormous potential of big data and how the social scientific tool kit is reconfigured by innovative tools. The talk will be illustrated with Mike Savage’s own experience with the BBC’s Great British Class Survey – the most popular digital social scientific project ever conducted in the UK.
Isabelle Sonnenfeld, in turn, will introduce Google’s News Lab to talk about Google Search and Trends and how big data amplifies today’s storytelling. Director of the HIIG Wolfgang Schulz will moderate the dialogue.
The British Embassy Berlin in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) host this kick-off lecture for the series “Big data: big power shifts?”, that the Humboldt Institute for Internet and society conducts in cooperation with the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications.
The dialogue will also serve as the opening keynote for an academic conference on Media Communication Between Complexity and Simplification. Theories, Methods, Practices organised by the German Communication Association (DGPuK).
About the Speakers
Mike Savage is the Martin White Professor of Sociology and Head of Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before that, he was Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester where he was Head of Department and founding Director of CRESC, the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change. He moved to the University of York in 2010, where he was interim Head of Department, and where he continues as Visiting Professor.
Mike Savage is a key thinker in sociology whose academic work covers a range of core issues in the study of contemporary society. Besides examining dynamics in social stratification and inequality in his widely recognized contributions like «Contemporary Sociology and the Challenge of Descriptive Assemblage» and «The coming crisis of empirical sociology» he has forcefully argued that social science inquiry needs to re-consider its methods and approaches in making sense of big data, social media and the overall complexities of today’s society.
Isabelle Sonnenfeld is the lead of Google’s News Lab in Germany and former Head of News, Government and Politics for Twitter in Germany.
A keynote dialogue in the series Big data: “Big Power shifts?”
Big data has been a major issue in internet-related public debate for several years now and it is yet unclear what impact big data has on societies, politics and markets. Big data means the automatic generation of very large and diverse data sets which are mainly the result of the digitisation of modern societies, their processing by algorithms and their use for decision-making and regulation, in the private or public sector.
This includes purposes such as profiling, monitoring, predictive analysis and risk calculation. Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier claim that big data is a “revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think”. But whereas revolutions imply a profound shift in power relations, there is little evidence and debate about whether and, if so, how big data affects power relations.
The lecture series will explore this topic with speakers from different backgrounds and be backed by a special issue of the Internet Policy Review.
The event series “Big data: big power shifts?” is initiated by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in cooperation with the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications and curated by Dr. Lena Ulbricht, WZB Research Fellow.