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Ghost Canyon

'The Human Face of Big Data'
(DVD / PG / 2016 / PBS)

Overview: With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in ways from the microscopic to the gargantuan.

DVD Verdict: Big Data, a pairing of words that was barely used a few years ago now governs the day for many of us from the moment we awaken to the extinguishing of the final late-evening light bulb. This massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to not only address some of humanity biggest challenges--including pollution, world hunger, and illness--but is also helping create a new kind of planetary nervous system. Yet as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents has shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price.

Now, as much as this new documentary does indeed provide en masse of old and new information to do with Big Data and how it affects our every day lives, the way it has been put together is rather bad! You see, background music gets in the way of the message, which is timely and well-researched, as aforementioned. Nevertheless, a single narrator would have lent the program more credibility. We all know Big Data is serious business, not for easy viewing, but listening to various voices, all with louder-than-required background music is far from soothing.

Regardless, 'The Human Face of Big Data; captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution. Indeed, some good points are when they speculate on privacy versus utility and data collection. I just wish the graphics were on screen a little longer so that you can focus on them, learn from them, relate to even -- but I guess that's what the pause button is for, isn't it?! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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