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Biweekly – Week 1 ; Monday ; 2pm – 4pm
Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)

How did Big Data help Donald Trump get elected? How is our own data used to subtly shape our opinions?  Join us for a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of Big Data on our Democracy. Since the explosion of smartdevices and social media, data about us is amassed 24/7.  Learn how this data, called Big Data, is used to create algorithms that affect and influence us.  Find out how companies have made vast amounts by selling our data in the new behavioural futures marketand how the impact stretches beyond what we buy to how we vote and even how we think.  We will contrast current algorithmic determinismwith that of earlier propaganda and how the vulnerabilitiesof democracies may be exploited in both contexts. We will also explore whether BigData can be used for benign purposes and in ways that may actually enhance democracy.   


Brian Gaston ( is a retired civil engineer who worked in senior government positions and often dealt with privacy breaches in areas such as driver licensing.  He is a long time Academy member volunteering in many areas such as Facilitator, Tech Team Leadership and President. 

Priscilla Platt is a retired lawyer who practised Privacy Law for over three decades in both the public and the private sectors.  During her career she wrote and spoke often about privacy and the impact of technology.  As a member of the Academy for three years, she also co-facilitates the Fitness and Aging and Comedy workshops.   

Workshop Notes: