Grad Studies Launches VoxCast

A picture is worth a thousand words, and we’re in the midst of the creation of a picture so enormous that nobody knows what the story will be, or who will tell it.

We’re talking about big data: the phrase du jour that has everyone talking, thinking, creating, and even protesting. Influencing our music decisions, what news we read, and whether or not we should keep stepping in place while making dinner to reach our fitness goals, big data is taking an influential seat at the table. So how should we approach this phenomenon?

This is the question we considered as the topic for the inaugural Graduate Studies podcast: VoxCast. With the support and guidance of the Office of Graduate Studies, Psychological and Brain Sciences PhD students Rich Lopez and Alison Mattek set out to produce a conversation around the question: Big Data: Big Promise or Big Peril?

Capitalizing on the close-knit, collaborative nature of the graduate programs at Dartmouth, Lopez and Mattek were able to weave threads from the Dartmouth research community around the topic with comparative ease, “When we first set out to collect content and schedule interviews, it was unclear whether we would have enough to work with,” Lopez says. “But these concerns were quickly put to rest. Not only were the interviewees excited to speak on the topic, but we quickly saw commonalities on the pros and cons of big data emerge and crystallize.”

Using interviews from Digital Musics Michael Casey, Computer Science’s Andrew Campbell, among others, podcasters Lopez and Mattek painted a small mosaic that tells part of the story of big data. “People are interested in how their everyday behaviors are being converted into data, which is then used by companies and other institutions. We are excited to share some diverse and interesting perspectives on this issue,” enthused Mattek.

You can listen to VoxCast in Soundcloud or download VoxCast from iTunes to hear more, and if you’re interested in producing your own podcast, email Amanda Skinner in the office of graduate studies.