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BIG CAPTA – LITTLE DATA
Emmanuel Tourpe
Director of TV and VOD Programming @ RTBF
Free University of Brussels-Université Catholique
de Louvain
1. Introduction
2. The finite and the infinite
3. Words and things
4. From « mathesis universalis »
to a digital world
5. Man is not a monad
6. algorithms have no ideological
neutrality
7. Abandon behaviourist beliefs
8. Conclusion
AGENDA
• Ray Kurzweil : the “age of
singularity”  computer-
based unification
• Are we living in a matrix?
• We are living a breakaway
moment : post-modernity
• Rob Kitchin : Big Capta
1. INTRODUCTION
• Turing’s universal machine
• “the infinity of calculation
bears at its heart the stamp
of human finiteness”
2. THE FINITE IN THE INFINITE
• 5 limits :
1. The limits of computational
capacity
2. The limits of numerical reduction
of the analog, qualitative reality
of our behaviours
3. The limits of a reduction of man
to an individual closed in upon
themself, a prisoner of the past
4. The limits of “world views” that
govern the drawing up of
algorithms.
5. The limits of behaviourist models
behind recommendation
2. THE FINITE IN THE INFINITE
THE LIMITS OF BIG DATA
• capta represent only a
limited sub-set of the data
produced (Kitchin)
• verbalising = 7% of our
communication
• Don’t consider behavioural
figures in isolation and
singularly
3. WORDS AND THINGS
• Modernity founded on
– freedom = summit of the
human spirit
– computational power of
human reason can pierce all
secrets
• “A Mathematical Theory of
Communication” (Shannon,
1948)
4. FROM “MATHESIS UNIVERSALIS”
TO A DIGITAL WORLD
• A vast amount of reality is
lost when we digitise reality
• Big Data : from linking data
to tracking all human digital
activity
4. FROM “MATHESIS UNIVERSALIS”
TO A DIGITAL WORLD
• Monadology (Leibniz, 1714)
• Today’s rec sys : isolated
individual, locked into his past
• For Leibniz, monads have no
doors, no windows
• This is the essence of filter
bubbles
• Humans are made of
connections
5. MAN IS NOT A MONAD
• Algorithms entail a certain
view of the world (bias)
• Question for PSM : what
world do our algorithms
reflect?
• A charter of the values of our
algorithms is needed
6. ALGORITHMS HAVE NO
IDEOLOGICAL NEUTRALITY
• simplistic illusion = future
“customer” behaviour entirely
predictable and calculable on
the basis of past behaviours
• respect and encourage
freedom
7. ABANDON BEHAVIOURIST
BELIEFS
• “To think is to invent” (Michel
Serres)
• We must think philosophically
about the limits to the projects
we initiate
• We must not lose sight of the
limits of Big Data and
recommendation algorithms
• Big Data is only one tool
amongst many
8. CONCLUSION
• recommendation is one way
of connecting to audience
alongside 3 others :
– Search
– Semi-automated playlist
– Human editorialisation or
programming
CONCLUSION
THANK YOU
TIME FOR QUESTIONS AND
ANSWERS

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Big Data - Little Data

  • 1. BIG CAPTA – LITTLE DATA Emmanuel Tourpe Director of TV and VOD Programming @ RTBF Free University of Brussels-Université Catholique de Louvain
  • 2. 1. Introduction 2. The finite and the infinite 3. Words and things 4. From « mathesis universalis » to a digital world 5. Man is not a monad 6. algorithms have no ideological neutrality 7. Abandon behaviourist beliefs 8. Conclusion AGENDA
  • 3. • Ray Kurzweil : the “age of singularity”  computer- based unification • Are we living in a matrix? • We are living a breakaway moment : post-modernity • Rob Kitchin : Big Capta 1. INTRODUCTION
  • 4. • Turing’s universal machine • “the infinity of calculation bears at its heart the stamp of human finiteness” 2. THE FINITE IN THE INFINITE
  • 5. • 5 limits : 1. The limits of computational capacity 2. The limits of numerical reduction of the analog, qualitative reality of our behaviours 3. The limits of a reduction of man to an individual closed in upon themself, a prisoner of the past 4. The limits of “world views” that govern the drawing up of algorithms. 5. The limits of behaviourist models behind recommendation 2. THE FINITE IN THE INFINITE THE LIMITS OF BIG DATA
  • 6. • capta represent only a limited sub-set of the data produced (Kitchin) • verbalising = 7% of our communication • Don’t consider behavioural figures in isolation and singularly 3. WORDS AND THINGS
  • 7. • Modernity founded on – freedom = summit of the human spirit – computational power of human reason can pierce all secrets • “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” (Shannon, 1948) 4. FROM “MATHESIS UNIVERSALIS” TO A DIGITAL WORLD
  • 8. • A vast amount of reality is lost when we digitise reality • Big Data : from linking data to tracking all human digital activity 4. FROM “MATHESIS UNIVERSALIS” TO A DIGITAL WORLD
  • 9. • Monadology (Leibniz, 1714) • Today’s rec sys : isolated individual, locked into his past • For Leibniz, monads have no doors, no windows • This is the essence of filter bubbles • Humans are made of connections 5. MAN IS NOT A MONAD
  • 10. • Algorithms entail a certain view of the world (bias) • Question for PSM : what world do our algorithms reflect? • A charter of the values of our algorithms is needed 6. ALGORITHMS HAVE NO IDEOLOGICAL NEUTRALITY
  • 11. • simplistic illusion = future “customer” behaviour entirely predictable and calculable on the basis of past behaviours • respect and encourage freedom 7. ABANDON BEHAVIOURIST BELIEFS
  • 12. • “To think is to invent” (Michel Serres) • We must think philosophically about the limits to the projects we initiate • We must not lose sight of the limits of Big Data and recommendation algorithms • Big Data is only one tool amongst many 8. CONCLUSION
  • 13. • recommendation is one way of connecting to audience alongside 3 others : – Search – Semi-automated playlist – Human editorialisation or programming CONCLUSION
  • 14. THANK YOU TIME FOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS