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CGIU conference showcases power of big data

The Clinton Global Initiative University’s “The Power of Big Data” event addressed data, data and more data.

Held in the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center, the event showcased how big data is making a big impact.

Opening the event, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton introduced students from around the country who have launched initiatives.

“Young people are usually viewed as future leaders, but the truth is that a lot of them are innovators, disruptors and leaders today,” Clinton said.

One showcased initiative, FreshSpire, works to reduce the amount of food wasted by homes, restaurants and stores. With daily texts and a newsfeed, it informs consumers about grocery store food nearing its expiration date. The initiative was represented by Mona Amin of East Carolina University and Jennifer Wu of the University of Pennsylvania.

Following Clinton’s remarks, Hans Rosling, founder of the Gapminder Foundation, gave a presentation about people’s perception of the world through data.

An interactive quiz allowed the audience to submit answers to Rosling’s questions about world statistics, like what percentage of children are vaccinated worldwide. Results showed that a majority of the audience perceived the world as worse than it really is, according to collected data.

Rosling explained the importance of an accurate perception of the world.

“If you don’t know the present, you can’t think about the future,” he said.

A panel consisting of Intel Corporation Senior Vice President Diane Bryant, Knight Foundation Director of Media Innovation Christopher Barr, and Cloud4Cancer’s founder and Duke University student Brittany Wenger discussed the role of big data in society. Clinton moderated the discussion.

“Data is the currency for the digital world, but it’s so much more valuable if you’re willing to share it,” Bryant said.

Manoj Kanagaraj, a junior from Duke University, believes that big data will lead to big changes.

“Our generation is going to be the first generation to really harness that knowledge,” he said.

March 7, 2015


Sherman Hewitt

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