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Harvard IDC

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Emmanuel Letouzé

on 14 April 2013

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Transcript of Harvard IDC

Big Data for Development 19th Harvard International Development Conference:
"The End of Development?"
-New Public-Private Dynamics; Panel #2- 2. Discussion 1. Automating Research Changes the Definition of Knowledge.
2. Claims to Objectivity and Accuracy are Misleading (Apophenia: seeing meaningful patterns where none exists)
3. Bigger Data are Not Always Better Data
4. Not All Data Are Equivalent
5. Just Because it is Accessible Doesn’t Make it Ethical
6. Limited Access to Big Data Creates New Digital Divides
Panel on
Big Data for Development Harvard KSG
April 13th, 2013 The [Big] Data Revolution Panelists:
Nathan Eagle
William Hoffman "More data has been produced since this panel started than during the 1st N million years since the dawn of humanity combined"
Big Data is not about the data (cf Gary King)--it's about the nature of the data and the intent and capacity to make sense of it
Big Data is already impacting many fields: business, but also research, journalism, policymaking, official statistics..
Risks and challenges include ethical concerns (privacy, security), technical, technological, analytical, institutional Source: Boyd, Danah and Crawford, Kate, Six Provocations for Big Data (September 21, 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1926431 6 provocations for Big Data Key question:
How do you model human behavior? To be able to see the details of variations in the market and the beginnings of political revolutions, to predict them, and even control them, is definitely a case of Promethean fire. Big Data can be used for good or bad, but either way it brings us to interesting times. We're going to reinvent what it means to have a human society.Alex (Sandy) Pentland "To be able to see the details of variations in the market and the beginnings of political revolutions, to predict them, and even control them, is definitely a case of Promethean fire. Big Data can be used for good or bad, but either way it brings us to interesting times. We're going to reinvent what it means to have a human society."
Alex (Sandy) Pentland, MIT, "Reinventing Society in the Wake of Big Data". "Current attempts to build computer-based baseline of 'normal' human behaviour on the basis of Big Data may turn out to be similar to what happened with standardization of physical goods in the Industrial Revolution."
Patrick Wolfe, UCL Panelist: William Hoffman Pb: we are very good at predicting 10 of the next 3 revolutions Moderator:
Emmanuel Letouzé 1. Intro &
Panelists 3. Q&A Panelist: Nathan Eagle Associate Director, Telecomunications Industry,
World Economic Forum USA "[Big Data] represents a transformative opportunity" 40 mns
3 sections:
1. Context & Promise
2. Challenges & Risks
3. Principles & Policies CEO of Jana
Adjunct Assistant Prof. of Epidemiology at Harvard
Research Assistant Prof. in CS at Northeastern "Reality mining of Big data can help us engineer a better world" Ground rules & housekeeping 30 mns
All questioners must identify themselves before asking a question (name and professional affiliation)
One brief question per person; no speeches
Questions end with a question mark!
Participants should wait for the microphone and speak directly into it
Workshop at 4.00pm "We define “big data for development” as the traces of human actions picked up by digital devices, or as the digital translation (understood in its literal sense) of human actions. By “actions” we mean, for instance, moving places, making a purchase or a phone call, researching a word online, publishing a blog post, sending a tweet, or updating a Facebook status (the true intent of which may not be known). The essential features of these digital traces are that they are left as actions unfolding in real-time, and allow connecting numerous smaller heterogeneous, unstructured and structured data streams."

Letouzé, Meier and Vinck. "Big Data for Conflict Prevention" Key Facts
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