Tag Archives: big data

Group Privacy: the next generation of privacy problems

Data protection doesn’t engage with the collective level – is it time for change?

Can we trust machines to manage our data?

In a recent post on the World Economic Forum’s blog, Kate Crawford argues that two of the biggest challenges posed by big data are preserving due process and reducing power imbalances at a time when data scientists have an unprecedented ability to ‘classify and quantify human life’. In contrast to her focus on the human […]

Smart’s not enough. We need functional.

Accra is in tears today. Last night a heavy rain storm descended on the city, flooding it to a depth of metres in some places. A crowd of people took refuge in a petrol station in the centre of town near Nkrumah Circle, not realising that the tanks below them were overflowing due to the […]

Against innovation (mostly)

(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 […]

How to draw people with data – models, reality, and the riddle of the Sphinx

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 […]

what’s next

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 […]

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 […]