Hecht has expounded previously on the potential that big data has to offer for cities. For the uninitiated, big data refers to the exceedingly large and increasingly unmanageable pools of data about your behavior being gathered by private enterprise, government agencies, emergency dispatchers, and more. And as Hecht sees it, harnessing that pool of data offers "a means to understand cities better, make better decisions, and improve the quality of life for more citizens."
As such, and in light of a recent meeting with Chicago's chief technology officer John Tolva and chief data officer Brett Goldstein, Hecht presents five challenges to civic leaders hoping to cut through the fog of this trend:
"Ultimately, the success of Chicago's efforts, and likely those of cities throughout the country, will depend on the willingness of people like Brett Goldstein to reject conventional wisdom that this can't be done in order to custom build solutions with gum and spit."