Large data sets and predictive analytics give us powerful new ways to see patterns in information. But there is a growing “data fundamentalism” that evangelizes big data as reflecting objective truth, free from human bias. What forms of knowing — as well as people and places — might be left out of this picture? What risks are we taking when we rely upon such analyses? This talk investigates the mythologies of big data, and how we might work beyond them.
The Raw and the Cooked: The Mythologies of Big Data
Kate Crawford is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, a visiting professor at the MIT Center for Civic Media, and a senior fellow at the Information Law Institute at NYU. Over the last ten years she has researched the social, political, and cultural contexts of networked technologies. Her current work focuses on a range of data practices, from the ethics of big data, crisis informatics, networked journalism, and the everyday uses of mobile and social media. She has conducted large and small-scale ethnographic studies in Australia, India, and the US.
Crawford’s book on technology, culture, and youth, Adult Themes, won the Academy of the Humanities medal and the Manning Clark National Cultural Award. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, BBC’s The World Today, ABC, and CBC.