(This post discusses ideas from a paper that’s currently under review. You can read it here.) Amartya Sen gave a talk today in Amsterdam. For those who don’t know him, he is the originator of the Capability approach to development (where development is measured by people’s capacity to fulfill their potential in things as diverse […]

At the ‘Responsible Data for Humanitarian Response’ conference, yesterday was data governance day. I wrote here about the challenge of figuring out how checks and balances might work with regard to humanitarian data use, and yesterday a group of us considered the idea of defining smaller ‘villages’ within the huge and diverse humanitarian response sector, in order […]

I’m at a conference in the Hague this week, on Responsible Data for Humanitarian Response, where I’m about to do a session on ‘checks and balances’ in data governance for the humanitarian field. This is an interesting challenge, because currently there aren’t a lot of them either in that field or in relation to developing […]

In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus became king of Thebes by solving a riddle posed by the Sphinx: what goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening? Oedipus guessed correctly that it was a human: first a baby crawling, then an adult walking, then using a stick in […]

Tomorrow I am starting a new job at the University of Amsterdam as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow in Development Studies. I’ll be continuing and expanding the line of research that I’ve become most interested in during my work at the Oxford Internet Institute, looking at the role of big data in Development. I use […]

Last week the World Economic Forum sponsored a high-level workshop on the idea of the ‘personal data ecosystem’ and how it might look in different contexts. The event raised some interesting conflicts regarding the way different sectors conceptualise, never mind deal with, personal data. Represented there were the health sector, leaders of NGOs working in […]

How is the web going to shape knowledge amongst the world’s poorest people? Perhaps through services offered by mobile providers such as Airtel, which announced yesterday that Wikipedia will be available via SMS to Kenyan mobile phone subscribers. This is an important step forward: Kenya has been a leader in channelling services and applications through […]

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