In February this year, Kate Crawford, principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, delivered a talk at the Strata Conference, entitled Algorithmic Illusions: Hidden Biases of Big Data. Her talk focused on the subjectivity of data and data sets. She cautioned that data and data collection are created and shaped by human beings, and understanding the unavoidable hidden biases people bring to data collection and analysis can be as significant as the data themselves. She went on to add that the next big challenge for those in the big data space is how to address these challenges.
Post her presentation at the Strata conference, the Harvard Business Review, has published a blog by Crawford that is drawn from the keynote given at the Conference. Titled The Hidden Biases in Big Data, Crawford further outlines the concepts she discussed during Strata 2013. Essentially Crawford brings to the fore questions that need to be asked and answered when examining a big data set: “… which people are excluded? Which places are less visible? What happens if you live in the shadow of big data sets?” Crawford sees this as a way to make interpretations from big data more in depth, focused and objective.
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