TEN QUESTIONS WITH JOSEP CURTO
Where is your hometown?
I grew up in Salou, a small touristic city on the coast in Catalunya, Spain.
How does big data affect our day to day lives?
The impact is enormous and sometimes we are not able to perceive it. Many of the magical moments that we experience each day are based on (big) data. When Amazon recommends you an interesting book, when your pedometer/smart band tells you to stop because you are reaching your maximum level of fatigue, when we play in a MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game) and our AI (Artificial Intelligence) companions help us to overcome a challenge, when our favorite football/soccer team is playing and they use data from sensors and cameras to adjust their strategy…
What books are on your nightstand?
Thinking with Data, by Max Shron. The Innovators. How a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution, by Walter Isaacson. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, by Neil Gaiman.
What would you say is a particularly underrated business skill?
Analytical thinking. Many companies have forgotten how to think, how to rationally analyze an event or how to make a decision based on facts and data. It’s time to transform our companies.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be scientist. I have been always fascinated by science. Therefore, it was natural for me to study mathematics, considered by many as the most abstract science.
Who has inspired you along the way?
My parents spurred my curiosity for science when I was a child, and it’s a spark that still drives me. And my wife who reminds me every day to not settle for mediocrity and to stay humble.
And what do you like about teaching?
The chance to meet brilliant minds and exchange ideas. I learn as much from my students! I hope they feel the same.
Whom would you like to sit next to at a dinner party?
Anyone with a brilliant mind or intelligent conversation. Any topic is welcome.