Big Brother from big data?

In other privacy news, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity announced it will begin a three-year study, trying to harness "big data" and use it to predict the future. Researchers will crunch numbers from everywhere - social media, web searches, cell phone data, traffic cameras, financial market movements - to see if they can figure out when and where global events are most likely to occur. As the New York Times reports, "It is intended to be an entirely automated system, a "data eye in the sky" without human intervention, according to the program proposal. The research would not be limited to political and economic events, but would also explore the ability to predict pandemics and other types of widespread contagion, something that has been pursued independently by civilian researchers and by companies like Google."

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Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.

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