Category Oxford Internet Institute

the big squeeze: why the mobile internet isn’t enough

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 […]

sharing big data: let it be complicated.

I’m at the Internet Governance Forum 2013 in Bali this week, which kicked off this morning with a discussion on ‘Growth and user empowerment through data commons’ The panel was myself, Alan Paul of the World Economic Forum, and Amparo Ballivian of the World Bank’s Open Data initiative. The panel addressed the issue of how […]

Data for growth vs. data protection? an EU debate

At the 2013 European big data conference in Brussels, where a mix of private and public sector leaders are discussing how to use big data to make Europe more competitive. It’s a very wide-ranging discussion which has gone from academic research data infrastructures to public genomes and self-driving cars. The mix of public and private […]

Scientific field or hairball? big data research as an academic reality

I’m at the European Conference on Complex Systems in Barcelona today, reflecting on whether big data is, or could become, a field of its own. People here are presenting on diverse topics such as financial risk, gendered decisionmaking in politics, the adoption of technology, why people imitate the behaviour of others, and information cascades. What […]

Clear data, unknown meanings

This post comes out of the big data project currently underway at the Oxford Internet Institute. One of the questions we are asking in this research is what constitutes ‘big data’ for social scientists, and how it’s changing the way they do their work. One prevalent assumption is that the most elementary distinction between ‘big’ […]

The scramble for Africa’s data: resource grab or development opportunity?

After the last decade’s exponential rise in ICT use, Africa is fast becoming a source of big data. Africans are increasingly emitting digital information with their mobile phone calls, internet use and various forms of digitised transactions, while on a state level e-government starts to become a reality. African data, however, is not only valuable […]

Where do developers belong in development?

If you’re someone with data analysis skills and a yearning to solve poverty/malaria/the mystery of bee mortality, now’s your time. There are numerous ‘big data’ initiatives emerging to connect development initiatives with people who can code, including programs based around GIS, mobile phone data, crowdsourced crisis reporting and microfinance, to name but a few. But […]