2016 had lots of surprises for the world. Far too many great celebrities passed away and three major elections were stunning upsets. With all that going on, the advancement of data technology didn't skip a beat. Here are my top 5 things data taught us in 2016.
5. How will you die?
(source: Flowing Data)
This animated viz from Nathan Yau predicts how you will die will just a few variable inputs. It's crazy to think that data can actually predict this but of course, that is what keeps us curious.
4. Microsoft's Underwater Data Center
With a developer at the helm of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, they are finally turning things around. This article shows off some of the advancements they're trying to make in the data space by putting a data center (where the magic happens) underwater.
“Microsoft has tested a prototype of a self-contained data center that can operate hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, eliminating one of the technology industry’s most expensive problems: the air-conditioning bill.”
3. The Largest Ever Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender: 2,000 scripts, 25,000 actors, 4 million lines
This is a fantastic analysis of 2,000 scripts trying to identify sexism and racism. As they put it “Lately, Hollywood has been taking so much shit for rampant sexism and racism. The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles.
But it’s all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion. How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity?”
2. The Great A.I. Awakening
This one hits close to home for me since I am learning Spanish and believe strongly that being able to communicate across language boundaries is a huge step in gaining compassion for other cultures and overall having more peace in the world.
This is the story of “How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.” and is a must read.
1. This tiny glass disc can store 360TB of data for 13.8 billion years
(source: Science Alert)
This one is my top pick for 2016 as it completely blows my mind and changes everything when it comes to our data-driven future. One of the biggest challenges in computing has been the cost and reliability of data storage. Now with this technology, those concerns will literally be a thing of the past. Of course, it won't be ready tomorrow, but you can bet that in a few years time we'll look back at the days of storage limits as an old relic of a previous computing era.
6. How Trump Reshaped the Election Map
I wouldn't deserve your attention if I didn't mention something about the US Presidential Election which surprised virtually every data scientist and pollster with the exception of the LA Times Poll. This map that the New York Times created is beautiful and tells a great story about how Donald Trump won the election. Scroll down through the page and the narrative exposes itself. I believe we'll see more data storytelling like this in the future.