Science Museum to explore invisible revolution of big data

London’s Science Museum will open a new exhibition exploring the invisible revolution of big data, helped by funding from the Foundation. 

The exhibition, Our Lives in Data, opening 15 July, will investigate the rapidly evolving role of big data in all our lives and how it is being used to transform the world around us. 

Our funding in the area of big data relates to our strategic themes of supporting scientific research and its applications, and in particular for this project, promoting safety and public understanding of risks. 

In March 2014, the Foundation started the debate on the impact of big data on society and the way in which we all conduct our business safely, securely and reliably. This led to the publication in December of that year of our Foresight review of big data. This describes how big data can bring societal benefits, enhancing safety by fundamentally changing the design, manufacturing, maintenance and decommissioning processes for complex infrastructures and machinery. The review has helped the Foundation understand where it can make a distinctive contribution to the developments in big data, in pursuit of our charitable objectives.

Our Lives in Data will explore some of the diverse ways that our data is being collected, analysed and used, from a toy that learns the personality of a child to become a better playmate to new virtual reality tools created by game designers to help researchers understand vast collections of data. Visitors will have a chance to test facial recognition software through an intelligent mirror, designed to guess your age, gender and emotions. Our Lives in Data will look at the crucial role of big data in planning and improving public transport in London as well as its importance in medical science.

As the amount of data collected grows so does the debate around data ownership. This exhibition will highlight some of the new products developed to help individuals protect their data. Our Lives in Data will also look at the data we share openly through social media and consider the consequences of living in a more connected world. Visitors will be able to join in the debate and compare their views with others through an interactive exhibition quiz.

“Big data is still new but it is already revolutionising the world around us. We hope all visitors to Our Lives in Data will get a sense of just how much of our data is captured and processed every day and consider the huge benefits as well as privacy concerns this can create, ” said the Science Museum’s Exhibition Developer, Sheldon Paquin.

The exhibition will be free to visit and opens on 15 July 2016. For further information visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/data