Science & Cocktails #3: Big Data & Privacy with Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye



The talks will be held in English

Science & Cocktails is an initiative that brings science and entertainment closer together by creating a series of public lectures intertwined with music/art performances and smoky dry-ice chilled cocktails in your hand.

Scientific knowledge is in general not considered accessible by many and, like any other form of information, it travels from researcher to journalist and is finally transmitted through the usual media channels (but perhaps slightly distorted). Science & Cocktails aims to create a relaxed platform where researchers and audience are on equal footing and conversations can be easily followed while sipping a Famous Penicillin cocktail side by side with your favorite scientist.

It is our belief that a night culture that evolves around knowledge, discussion and entertainment is altogether lacking in urban spaces. Taking a scientific approach that extends not only through information flow but also as an inspiration in music/art and as a tool in the craft of cocktails we seek to create a unique atmosphere.

Science & Cocktails is a non-profit initiative which aims to make scientific knowledge accessible to everybody as a service to the community. Thanks to support from the Science & Cocktails foundation in Denmark, ULB and FNRS, these events are free and open to everyone.


Science & Cocktails began in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a joint cooperation between Teori og Praksis, the Niels Bohr Institute (physics department of Copenhagen’s University) and the physicist Jácome Armas. Its first version ran over the year 2010 and was held at the cocktail bar Huset ved Kongens Have. Since 2011 Science & Cocktails has been running at Byens Lys, the cinema of the freetown of Christiania, and is currently in its eighth version counting with the participation of scientists, artists, mixologists and cocktail masters.

Since 2014, Science & Cocktails is a registered non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the communication of scientific research to the general public.

The Johannesburg version of Science & Cocktails started in 2015 and is now in its second year, promoting South-African based research.

The Brussels version of Science & Cocktails kicks off in 2017 at Atelier 210 as it aims to provide a platform for Belgium-based scientists to engage with the public and increase awareness of the science performed in Belgium, both locally as well as globally, by making the talks available online at

Big Data & Privacy with Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

Privacy, does it still matter? What can mobile phone data be used for? How do we safely use big data while moving forward?

This last episode of this first season of Science & Cocktails in Brussels is a simultaneously fantastic and terrifying experience that will both raise concerns about your privacy and lead you to understand the human benefits of big data. A talk guided by Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye followed by the upcoming alternative rock band Joli Coeur.

We live in a time when information about most of our movements and actions is collected and stored in real time. Everyone is collecting some type of data from you: your google searches, your online food orders, your holiday locations and the profiles of others you check on Facebook. And the availability of large-scale mobile phone, credit card, browsing history, etc, dramatically increases our capacity to understand and potentially affect the behavior of individuals and collectives.

The use of this data, however, raises legitimate privacy concerns. In this event, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye will discuss how traditional data protection mechanisms fail to protect people’s privacy in the age of big data. More specifically, he will show how sensitive information can often be inferred from seemingly innocuous data. He will then discuss some of the socially positive uses of big data and solutions that he and his group is developing at Imperial College London to allow large-scale behavioral data to be used while giving individual strong privacy guarantees.

Afterwards, private cocktails that can be collectively shared while Joli Coeur, an alternative pop rock band, takes the stage and will present its Debut album released this Fall.