Government data: How open is too open?

Sharon Fisher at HPE: “The notion of “open government” appeals to both citizens and IT professionals seeking access to freely available government data. But is there such a thing as data access being too open? Governments may want to be transparent, yet they need to avoid releasing personally identifiable information. There’s no question that open government […]

When census taking is a recipe for controversy

Anjana Ahuja in the Financial Times: “Population counts are important tools for development, but also politically fraught…The UN describes a census as “among the most complex and massive peacetime exercises a nation undertakes”. Given that social trends, migration patterns and inequalities can be determined from questions that range from health to wealth, housing and even […]

Cops, Docs, and Code: A Dialogue between Big Data in Health Care and Predictive Policing

Paper by I. Glenn Cohen and Harry Graver: “Big data” has become the ubiquitous watchword of this decade. Predictive analytics, which is something we want to do with big data — to use of electronic algorithms to forecast future events in real time. Predictive analytics is interfacing with the law in a myriad of settings: how votes are counted and voter rolls […]

Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

Book by Virginia Eubanks: “The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years—because a new computer system interprets any mistake as “failure to cooperate.” In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an […]

“Crowdsourcing” ten years in: A review

Kerri Wazny at the Journal of Global Health: “First coined by Howe in 2006, the field of crowdsourcing has grown exponentially. Despite its growth and its transcendence across many fields, the definition of crowdsourcing has still not been agreed upon, and examples are poorly indexed in peer–reviewed literature. Many examples of crowdsourcing have not been scaled–up […]

Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data

Nathan Yau at FlowingData: “Data is a representation of real life. It’s an abstraction, and it’s impossible to encapsulate everything in a spreadsheet, which leads to uncertainty in the numbers. How well does a sample represent a full population? How likely is it that a dataset represents the truth? How much do you trust the numbers? Statistics […]

AI System Sorts News Articles By Whether or Not They Contain Actual Information

Michael Byrne at Motherboard:”… in a larger sense it’s worth wondering to what degree the larger news feed is being diluted by news stories that are not “content dense.” That is, what’s the real ratio between signal and noise, objectively speaking? To start, we’d need a reasonably objective metric of content density and a reasonably objective […]

Universities must prepare for a technology-enabled future

Subhash Kak in the Conversation: “Automation and artificial intelligence technologies are transforming manufacturing, corporate work and the retail business, providing new opportunities for companies to explore and posing major threats to those that don’t adapt to the times. Equally daunting challenges confront colleges and universities, but they’ve been slower to acknowledge them. At present, colleges and universities are most worried […]

Letters From Congress

“From-Congress is an attempt to collect letters sent by representatives to their constituents. These letters often contain statements by the rep about positions that might otherwise be difficult to discover. This project exists to increase the amount of transparency and accountability of representatives in their districts…. If you would like to send a letter to […]