Today's Power of Disenfranchisement: Are Data Scientists the New High Priests?

Today's Power of Disenfranchisement: Are Data Scientists the New High Priests?

Computational Thinking—The New Literacy

Our democracies face a massive challenge today. The battleground for electoral success is based on information that few are equipped to question. A small elite manages our thoughts through knowledge only they possess, to the exclusion of most citizens.

I am talking about the overriding effect of modern data science and more generally computation in our societies. Just a tiny fraction of our populations are educated in directly applying computational thinking to information, arguments and decisions they have to take. Including about government. Including about voting.

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Computation meets Data Science in London, Thursday 5 March

Computation meets Data Science in London, Thursday 5 March

I'm usually going on about "computation" or in education, "maths". But I've come to appreciate just how much of computation's utility in modern life centres around data (rather than, say, algebraic modelling).

Clearly data science is a major, growing and vital field—one that's relatively new in its current incarnation. It's been born and is driven forward by new technology, our abilities to collect, store, transmit and "process" ever larger quantities of data.

But "processing" has often failed to elucidate what's important in the data. We need answers, not just analytics, we need decisions not just big data.

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