Our Lives in Data

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Our first project of the second term is called OUR LIVES IN DATA. We were asked to go to the Science Museum and look at a small exhibition on the ground floor. From this exhibition you can learn that literally anything and everything can be data. Your face is data. Your genes are data. The exhibition spoke about TfL, social media and genomics. One of the examples they used was about travelling in London and the use of Oyster cards.

“Journeys you make in London create data. Three hundred million are made each month using Oyster and contactless cards. Transport for London (TfL) uses this information to understand who wants to go where and when. This data helps TfL to understand patterns, help its customers and shape new stations. This is just one example of how decisions about our cities are being driven by big data.”

The exhibition had different components to it, but my favourite part of the exhibition was the exchange between two women, one in UK and the other in the US, who had a series called Dear Data.

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Every week they would write postcards to each other and visually express data about something in their lives. I really liked this because it was about stuff you wouldn’t usually collect data on, “they turned their emotions, habits and observations into hand drawn data”. It was interesting seeing them take down data about the same thing but express it in different ways and also looking at the charts and ways they explained how to read each of their drawings. For me what makes it more interesting is that they live so far apart and so you can compare different lifestyles and cultures.

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