The Human Face of Big Data documentary airs tonight on US TV

A popular book about big data has been turned into a documentary and is due to air on the US television channel PBS this evening (February 24th).

The Human Face of Big Data was published in 2012 to much acclaim, with its author Rick Smolan being credited with bringing the topic to a larger audience.

As a photojournalist, Smolan has followed some of the biggest leaps in technological advancement from their inception to widespread rollout in recent years.

He managed to make the topic, which essentially centres around storage and converged infrastructure, into a topic of public interest.

This was mainly achieved through his ability to bring in elements of visual stimulation to what can be a very dry area.

Smolan also touched on the fact that this technology is moving forward at a fast pace, stating: “much of what amazes us today will seem primitive and crude” in the future.

The idea that we are still in the cave man era of big data has grabbed headlines and is fascinating for those in the industry waiting to see what advancements the future will bring.

In order for the documentary to be produced, a certain amount of family collaboration has occurred, with Smolan’s brother Sandy creating the film.

Describing the process of turning his brother’s book into a documentary, the filmmaker told Silicon Angle it was the hardest project he had ever undertaken.

His approach involved “finding a schematic thread to corral all this information into a focused narrative, and give it structure”, he said.

It’s no wonder that the task was such a daunting one, as big data reaches into every aspect of modern life, from advertising to government surveillance.

The documentary will be screened at 10pm tonight.

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