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Rockefeller University ​when I was a kid and as a teenager I was involved with amateur radio and I built radios and transmitters and the simplest Raider you can build you see right here it's just a piece of wire four or five components and it doesn't even need a battery to work and for one weekend a year I would come to this city swallow and join the local scouting group for what was called Jamboree on the air and together with Scouts we would use our radios and transmitters to connect scouting groups across the world and have them talk to each other and that was always extremely exciting connecting all these individuals worldwide and sensing their global network now in school and in other places people usually told me that everything needed his own place but to me everything was somehow magically connected if only I had the tools and the ability to do it and see it and then of course internet happened and digitalization and all of a sudden we were all connected on an unprecedented scale and we all had access to tools as individuals that were not available to us before so I'm a professional work I kept working on it what happens if you connect people that were previously unconnected and you push tools into the hands that they didn't have access to before and today I want to talk to you about one of those new tools that are now available to us as individuals and it's called open data and like to talk about three things one what open data is and how it's being used second why our societies need open data and thirdly why you all should get involved with open data now open data is a very first time thing already it's being used in thousands of different prototypes and for different purposes and different applications and so let me start with giving you a few examples this is a website called whose it's web in Denmark and you go there and you give it your address and you answer about a dozen other questions and then within 20 minutes you get a full advice and how you can make your home more energy-efficient and it adds a list of financing options that are available to you like subsidies etc and it also provides you with a list of builders that are qualified to do the work on your home to make it more if energy-efficient and the reason this website can do all that is because it taps into six or seven different open data sources it has access to data that the government has like building plans like plans for for renewable energy in your region and it combines all that with your personal contacts and specific information and turns that into advice at the same time in Kenya open data is being used to create applications like these this is a mobile application to provide better access to health care in Kenya it helps you with diagnosing symptoms and it shows you whether the doctor you are seeing is actually a licensed doctor or not and it'll also provide you with the way to the nearest health care facility here in your neighborhood in Slovenia they have one back frustration and that is pollution of the countryside by illegal waste there in the hills and in the forests and in the fields there's tremendous amount of illegal waste being dumped with open data citizens put together this map that shows you all the spots of illegal dumping in the country it's a complete map and the map is then being used by groups of citizens to coordinate their actions and clean up that waste and their aim is to set as they say to make Slovenia the cleanest country in Europe now those are just three examples of how open data is already being used out of thousands and thousands of prototypes so what is this open data that can do all that well open data is data that was collected for one task usually by governments or other big organizations and then published for everyone else to also make use of for their purposes and their calls so open data is public data that is being published without any technical legal or financial barriers and what happens when you remove barriers is that all kinds of new things can emerge removing barriers opens up the low end of existing markets and it opens up new areas of activity and that's great because those are the places where innovation happens when new things come along from unexpected places and from unexpected people and that creates impact that creates potential and we've already seen in various areas that that impact is being created by open data it's showing socioeconomic impact in fact that social economic impact is the primary reason why the European Commission is promoting open data with laws and regulations because they calculated that there is a potential of over 140 billion euros or 2 percent of GDP in Europe per year if every but every public data set that the government has that could be published would be open for all of us to use so because of that potential that the European Union as a whole sees governments across Europe have started opening up data from the first data portal launched by the UK government in the fall of 2009 until last month when Germany opened their national data portal over 100 local regional and national governments have created portals where you can go and find data that you can reuse and one of them is the Dutch national data portal and they in their plans called open data max they explicitly say that they want to use open data to address societal issues they want to use it to improve life in disadvantaged neighborhoods inside cities and they want to use open data to enable people to battle the consequences of regional shrinking where people are moving away


from the countryside and into the cities so in short there's an untapped abundance of data lying inside government bodies and inside large organisations that if it were opened up to all of us it holds a huge potential for things that we could do with it applications that we could build and already it is being opened up but we're slowly moving and it will take some time to situation that every that can be made public by governments and bylaws organizations will be made public in a way that we can use it now that abundance that promise of abundance is obviously very great but I think there's a more compelling reason why we need open data in our societies and that's because we by now live in a very networked society a global network society and networks only thrive if you share things and if you open up this is a picture of my personal network and I'm in the middle if I don't share and if I'm not open to all the others in the network I basically am not a part of the network people will not see me if I don't share I don't interact and I'm not connected to the rest of the world so it's no coincidence that you're not just hearing about open data as today but also about open design and open hardware open knowledge open access open source because open open everything is a necessary feature of a working networked society so in open data it's not the data that is important even though that's the stuff that you eventually use to create your applications it's the open that is important the fact that all of a sudden all of us in that networked society have access to that and can use it so open is the more important word here the second reason why our society needs open data is that because of that networked society there's now so many more connections and feedback loops that we've created that the level of complexity has increased enormously in our society together we form one big giant connected and Hill where everything is connected with everything else and without new tools like open data we we as individuals have no real perception of that complexity of the world when we have no real way of addressing that complexity of the world if you if you're like an ant where you only have your own existence and you're not really aware of how your actions contribute to the complexity of the surrounding anthill the surrounding world you can't really battle the problems that come with that complexity for instance if you look at cities open data is a possibility to get a new level of understanding a new perception of the city around you this is how we mostly experience city cities this is Amsterdam you walk around and you see things and you take pictures and but this is a single individual perspective at the perspective of one single and because we have no clue if you walk around like this what the city as a whole is doing and how its functioning this is also Amsterdam this is an overview of where people in Amsterdam take pictures the red dots are photos taken by tourists and the blue dots are photos taken by inhabitants of Amsterdam and all of a sudden a completely new image disappears because all of a sudden you see there are other things worthwhile photographing in the city outside of the touristy spots all of a sudden you start to see the shape of the anthill emerge from that data so hands rustling in its original talk at Ted a few years ago he was right he said we need to experience and be able to see the complexity of the data that describes our world to be able to solve real issues but that data needs to be available to all of us it needs to be available to you and to me as open data because that way we can perceive the anthill as it really is and not just half that single ants perspective the trick is that every single ant needs to know how the anthill works and that brings us to why you need to be involved with open data every single ant needs to know how the anthill works and that's already sort of happening because across the world across Europe groups of people are meeting up like here in Bologna last month where over a hundred and fifty Italians came together to look at data sets that were being published by the Italian government and see what they could do with it and whether they could use it to address issues in their own lives and they're not the typical people who work with data in their professional lives these are all basically data amateurs so to speak but they come together to learn about this and to find out ways of using data to address their own issues and it's not just in it in Italy just three weeks ago we had international open day today we're in hundred cities around the world groups like these came together and worked on finding data cleaning it up turning it into applications and I happen to be in Washoe that day so I joined the session there and together with over 50 polish people we explored open data and we build applications one was called Polly troops it's a clone of an existing Dutch application and in Polish whoops you track the deleted Twitter messages from politicians all the stuff that I wish they had and sat and retract it how we built more boring but probably more interesting applications about restrictions in Polish airspace and providing that information to amateur pilots and there's loads of those type of things where you could use open data if you learn the skills to solve issues that you face if you're interested in food safety and in hygiene of restaurants and I hear that the best restaurant in copenhagen recently had a couple of issues on that area then you might be interested in using open data to build applications like these that shows you the inspection reports from the restaurant that you are about to go and have dinner at or if you've ever been frustrated like me to find an affordable parking space in amsterdam within walking distance of where you need to be then an app like this using open data to find that parking spot and see whether it's available or not might be a good idea to build or if you're in a wheelchair and you have no idea whether public buildings and public venues will be accessible for you open data will help you build applications like these like


wheelmap where you can find out whether public places are accessible to you or are more on a global scale if you've ever wondered how corporations are connected to each other how they own different pieces in other companies that then own them back and all these different constructions that you see in the newspapers back then this project might be something opencorporates it aims to collect open data on every single company in the world about who controls it who owns it and all the different connections between them if you are interested in this type of thing then open data might be a good source or if you're interested in government spending open spending might be something to join because here people try to track every single euro spent by every single government body in the world obviously they're not quite there yet but the aim is there what you see in all these cases is that somebody had an issue somebody had an itch to scratch somebody had a problem and they got their hands on the data and then found new ways that they hadn't had didn't have access before to address their issues and create solutions towards solving their own problems so this is your basic recipe and that's basically what we all should do think of what are the things in your environment in your daily life that you want to address and instead learn any data available that could help you do it but that requires some skills like I just said and luckily you don't have to start from scratch you don't have to start learning to program you don't have to start learning to do statistics which you was so boring when you're but we're back in school you don't have to start learning to build mobile applications because there's already a bunch of tools out there that can help you get started so there's really no excuse to not start using open data and really no excuse do not start doing it so that's the summary don't become an ant but learn to understand how the anthill works get involved use open data so you understand your world thank you very much Cooper Union.

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