Does Data Divide

Wake Forest University
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Does Data Divide
Dr. Nairanjana (Jan) Dasgupta
Washington State University
Thursday, October 28 at 11:00am
In person, 121 Manchester Hall, or via Zoom

Abstract: In May 2017 a few years before the pandemic, The Economist indicated “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, it is data”. With the pandemic this is truer than it ever has been. Every day we are inundated with conflicting figures and “facts”. At this juncture of history huge amounts of data are being collected without much effort. Hence, the temptation to analyze and predict every aspect of life is strong. Words like Artificial Intelligence is no longer science fiction. However, in this very algorithm dependent world, we are seeing more of a divide between the data (knowledge) haves and have-nots. The “haves” are a very small data savvy group are writing the algorithms and influencing policies. Why is this group so small and so non-diverse? What are the barriers to entry in this field of data? In this talk we will explore some of the issues that we think contribute to this “data divide”. We will talk about issues starting as early as middle school that come into play. We will end with some potential solutions and discuss the concept of data literacy.

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