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The role of Big Data on society : EBU conference

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With fellow colleagues of EBU, I organized last week a conference entitled “Big Data and Society“at RTBF, the French-speaking public broadcasting organization of Belgium.

As I wrote on EBU website, this event aimed at gathering together professionals from the broadcasting industry to reflect on the impact of Big Data, recommendation algorithms and filter bubbles on society in general, and on users’ behaviors in particular. We assembled an amazing panel of 8 speakers from 5 countries who shared their knowledge with us (all presentations are already available here):

  • Prof. Louis Wehenkel (Liege University, BE), a specialist of Big Data applied to electrical network and an expert in modelling complex ecosystems (access presentation)
  • Steven Bourke, Staff Data Scientist & Tech Leader (Schibsted Media Group, Barcelona, Spain) whom I met at the RecSys TV conference in Boston (access presentation)
  • Prof. Jeroen Van den Hoven (Delft University, NL) who was awarded the World Technology Award for Ethics in 2009
  • Evan Estola, Lead Machine Learning Engineer (Meetup, New-York, USA) who presented how Meetup designs ethical recommendation engines (access presentation)
  • Prof. Jean Pralong (Neoma Business School, FR), who discussed the role of algorithmic systems in the HR industry and brilliantly showed the limits of technology
  • Prof. Edward Malthouse (Northwestern University, USA), one of the most respected scientist in the field of customer value (access presentation)
  • Dr. Emmanuel Tourpe, Director of Programming TV (RTBF) a renown philosopher who connected the works of Leibniz, Descartes and many others to the current quest for data (access presentation)
  • Prof. Mirko Schäfer (Utrecht University), an expert in the media sphere who discussed data production and filter bubbles in the broadcasting industry (access presentation)

After an introductory speech of RTBF Administrator General and EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot, I set up the objectives of the conference and outlined 6 essential questions which, in my opinion, should be on the research agenda of most Big Data practitioners and academics alike for the coming years :

  1. Where do we find data to measure CLV? How do we process it?
  2. Does the filter bubble really exist or is it a myth?
  3. Are there ethical issues associated with recommendation?
  4. How to balance personnalisation / serendipity (exploitation vs. exploration)
  5. How do we measure the success of public service algorithms?
  6. Is it worth educating people on the role of Big Data?

All presentations were recorded and the videos will be made available shortly.

Here is already the slides I presented on day 2 to sum up the presentations of Day 1.

photo : copyright RTBF
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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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