Futurescope 2016 Wrap Up

Blueface-at-Futurescope

By Brian Martin on June 1, 2016 in Blueface, Events, Technology

As you may have heard, Blueface Co Founder and Director, Feargal Brady gave a presentation at Futurescope 2016 on the Blueface journey and trends in the communications industry. The following are his words on the event:

We are looking forward already to next year’s Futurescope, and to see how the predictions and forecasts bear out. And of course, to more of the classic quotes and wonderful presentations by some really great speakers. The general announcement by John Hurley, Ryanair CTO about their platform was really interesting – let’s hope that this pioneering innovation will really boost the travel-related tech industry here in Ireland. It’s a great initiative and well worth keeping an eye on.

The general theme was big data and despite John’s warning (http://www.thejournal.ie/ryanair-technology-customers-2-2802153-Jun2016/) the implications of data mining and some of the really impressive benefits are beginning to be recognised.

During the discussion on legal and regulatory matters I mentioned Microsoft and some US universities who carried out a study of web searches, in an attempt to identify adverse interaction between two drugs. They trawled 80 million websites and found a high incidence of web searches for side effects with both drugs mentioned. You can read more about it here ( https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/03/mining-consumers-web-searches-can-reveal-unreported-side-effects-of-drugs-researchers-say.html ) It’s such a powerful method and a fabulous example of lateral thinking in problem solving. Kudos to Microsoft and the teams involved.

We used this as an example to highlight how legislation around data protection needs to be updated. The generally accepted and advised principle of data retention is that data should be deleted once the original purpose has been met. However this impacts our ability to identify trends and effects using modern and future mining methods. The laws were mainly codified at a time when the large scale collection, and more importantly the analysis of data was simply not possible. And of course the recent Facebook case taken by an Austrian citizen only serves to highlight this – the Irish Data Protection Commissioner is having to deal with very sophisticated and complex issues which are only going to multiply. On a positive note it is putting Portaloise on the global map.

Overall the event created a great forum of interaction between indiginous and multinational companies, with some great topics of discussion to get the conversation flowing. It was a great success – so if you weren’t there this year, I’d definitely put it in the diary for next year!

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