Big Data & det empiriske 'jeg': en filosofisk undersøgelse af Big-Data analytikeren, virksomhedens nye værdiproducent

Sødergran Jonas Elleboe

Student thesis: Master thesis


Massive amounts of machine and consumer generated data (Big Data) are increasingly being used by companies as a new way of producing commercial value. Based on Deleuze’s reading of David Hume, this master’s thesis takes on a philosophical examination of the Big Data-analyst as a new company figure and producer of immaterial value. Dominant discourses and current conceptions on how to create value from Big Data have been preoccupied with the analytical processes required to extract information from data numerically. The concept of Big Data and its value-creation are thus primarily engaged from a position of rationality. I argue that this position reflects a narrow understanding of Big Data and its overall organizational and societal effects. In resistance to this, a position of immaterial value-creation is introduced to open up new ways of conceptualizing Big Data. Within this position Deleuze’s reading of Hume is used to examine how Big Data-analysts are producing immaterial value. Given the fact that data is the production of consumer-generated actions, we should be thinking of these analysts as producers of consumersubjectivity. To demonstrate this, I use Deleuze/Hume’s empirical subjectivity to produce the concept: the empirical ‘I’. Empirical subjectivity is an effect of the doing rather than the articulation of a self. Both of these concepts are thus able to present how Big Data-analysts has emerged within the borders of the company by empirically discovering consumer-subjectivity through their actions. Numerical data encapsulates subjective actions, which can be used to form entirely new ways of understanding consumer preferences. This suggests that companies are now forming new kinds of relations with their consumers, based on their consumers’ tacit contribution through actions.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages86