The human face of Big Data – mindblowing images from the planet’s “digital nervous system”

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Photographer Rick Smolan was the opening speaker at this year’s DLD conference in Munich – and set the agenda for the confluence of art, technology and inspiration that characterise the event.

The Human Face of Big Data is a globally crowdsourced media project that examines “humanity’s new ability to collect, analyse, triangulate and visualise vast amounts of data in real time”. As well as apps and investigations, Smolan, creator of the epic Day in the Life photography books, was drafted in to curate a collection of over 100 of the world’s leading photographers who have been searching out and capturing images that illustrate the concept of Big Data.

From sub-aquatic observation to time-lapses of Times Square, the book visualises the ways in which we now collect and analyse millions of data streams on a daily basis.

“First of all, it was an incredible honour to be invited to not only attend and speak at DLD but to be asked to give the opening talk,” Smolan told us. “This is an audience that lives and breathes Big Data, so being asked to share my own journey of discovery and insights with people who are so deeply immersed in that world was pretty daunting.

“To my relief the stories and images about how this technology is beginning to touch every aspect of our lives appeared to really resonate with the DLD audience. This metaphor of our planet growing a ‘nervous system’ seems to be an accurate description of what we are witnessing.”

Click through on the thumbnails below to see some of the mindblowing images from the book…

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