Category: Data Politics

Simple data visualisations have become key to communicating about the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know little about their impact

If you had mentioned ‘flattening the curve’ in 2019, chances are you would have been met with a blank stare. However, almost halfway through 2020, the language of data visualisation has become commonplace, and data visualisations are widely used to communicate about the pandemic to the public. However, as Helen Kennedy observes, their power to … Continued

Book Review: The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias

In The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism, Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias argue that the quantified world is not a new frontier, but rather the continuation and expansion of both colonialism and capitalism. This book shines in using the theory underpinning the idea of data colonialism to articulate sites of resistance, writes […]

Book Review: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff

In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff offers a comprehensive account of the new form of economic oppression that has crept into our lives, challenging the boundless hype that has often surrounded the activities of modern technology companies. While the book presents a decent history of the rise of surveillance […]

Book Review: This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev

In This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, Peter Pomerantsev takes readers on a gripping journey through the disinformation age, drawing on his own family history as well as encounters with numerous figures positioned on both sides of the information spectrum: those working to manipulate our perceptions and those engaged in the struggle for a more facts-based public sphere. Ignas Kalpokas highly […]

Tale of the converted: how complex social problems have made me question the use of data in driving impact

In practice the way in which research impacts and influences policy and society is often thought to be a rational, ordered and linear process. Whilst this might represent a ‘common sense’ understanding of research impact, in this cross-post John Burgoyne reflects on how upending the primacy of data and embracing complexity can lead to a more nuanced and effective understanding […]

Book Review: Re-Engineering Humanity by Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger

In Re-Engineering Humanity, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger explore how the rise of new technologies and datafication grounded in machinic rationality risk conditioning humans to become more machinic-like in turn. As the book seeks to consider how the value of the human can be protected from the consequences of data creep, it will prompt readers to look at otherwise taken-for-granted technology practices differently, writes Ignas Kalpokas.  […]

Is openness in AI research always the answer?

As research into AI has become more developed, so too has the understanding that AI research might be misused. Discussing OpenAI’s recent decision to withhold the source code for an algorithm designed to replicate handwriting, citing concerns for the public good, Gabrielle Samuel argues that blanket commitments to openness are insufficient to protect against the potential ‘dual-use’ of AI research […]

Do social media companies undervalue the expertise of online communities?

Type vaccines into twitter and under a new initiative you will be prompted towards information supplied by expert institutions such as the NHS or US Department of Health and Human Services. However, by directing audiences to these sources, do social media companies overlook the important role played by online communities of lay experts? In this post Stefania Vicari explores how […]