chapter  9
The Datalogical Turn
Pages 19

In 2013, the chief technology offi cer (CTO) of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Ira “Gus” Hunt, addressed a crowd of software developers, coders, and programmers at the “Structure:Data” conference in New York City (Sledge, 2013). In a fast-paced and nearly winded PowerPoint presentation, Hunt tried to articulate both the challenges and possibilities that “big data” 1 present to the agency. Suggesting that the world has already become a “big data world,” the CTO charted a simultaneously frightening and captivating vision in which social media, mobile technologies, and cloud computing have been married to the “unbounded, promiscuous, and indiscriminate” capacities of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and sensor technology. Given this queer bundling of capacities or this capacity to bundle, as we would put it, Hunt proclaimed, “it is nearly within our grasp to compute all human generated information” and that human beings are now “walking sensor platforms” generating endless seas of data. How to fi nd “a signal” amid all this “noise,” suggested Hunt, is only one of the challenges posed by such a world.