Seminar on Big Data Studies

from September 2021 and ongoing

Deep Fake Geography? When Geospatial Data Encounter Artificial Intelligence

25 September 2021 Bo Zhao, Associate Professor of Geography and GIScience, University of Washington The developing convergence of Artificial Intelligence and GIScience has raised a concern on the emergence of deep fake geography and its potentials in transforming human perception of the geographic world. Situating fake geography under the context of modern cartography and GIScience, […]


Big Data and the Historian’s Craft

January to June 2021

Big Data and History: Some Provocations

21 January 2021 The advent of big data challenges long-held assumptions in historical research. The 59 zettabytes of data generated until 2020 reside in fragile storage devices with an average life span of 7 to 30 years. Unlike paper documents, the networked existence of big data across hundreds of thousands of servers in power-hungry data […]

Archives of the Future

18 February 2021 Historians and archivists have expressed concerns about the Digital Dark Age for decades. The short life span of storage hardware (about 7 years for SSDs under stress, 30 years for HDDs, and 100/200 years for optical discs under climate-controlled conditions only) inverts our relationship with primary sources. Advanced encryption methods employed in […]

Securing Big Data Archives

18 March 2021 The topic of our March roundtable is security as physical infrastructure and personal data protection. Future historians will have access to only what we choose to archive for them. We need to consider anonymizing and classifying selections of today’s social media data that may prove useful for researchers of the 2010s and […]

Energetics of Big Data

15 April 2021 In “Energetics of Big Data,” we will discuss big data as energy. Data centers are energy gobblers that consume anywhere between 1% to 5% of the world’s electricity, depending on how you run the estimate. While historians have known that the carving of woodblocks, mass printing, and climate-controlled archives consume energy, we […]