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The Global Commons of Data

Paper by Jennifer Shkabatur: “Data platform companies (such as Facebook, Google, or Twitter) amass and process immense amounts of data that is generated by their users. These companies primarily use the data to advance their commercial interests, but there is a growing public dismay regarding the adverse and discriminatory impacts of their algorithms on society at large. The regulation of data platform companies and their algorithms...

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Another Use for A.I.: Finding Millions of Unregistered Voters

Steve Lohr at The New York Times: “The mechanics of elections that attract the most attention are casting and counting, snafus with voting machines and ballots and allegations of hacking and fraud. But Jeff Jonas, a prominent data scientist, is focused on something else: the integrity, updating and expansion of voter rolls. “As I dove into the subject, it grew on me, the complexity and relevance of the problem,” he said. As a...

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A Smart City Is an Accessible City

Timi Hamraie at The Atlantic: “A new breed of accessibility apps can make life easier for people with disabilities. They can also make it harder…. Digital-accessibility maps are proliferating rapidly, thanks in part to the release of apps such as AXS Map, Access Earth, AccessNow, and Wheelmap. In the decade that I have been studying accessibility, I have come across dozens of these projects (and even started one of my own)....

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Beyond democracy: could seasteads and cryptocurrencies replace the nation state?

Patri Friedman in The Spectator: “For the past 20 years I’ve been working to enable start-up societies: permanent autonomous zones on land or at sea intended to accelerate economic development and to serve as laboratories for voluntary political experiments. For just as long (in fact since I first read The Sovereign Individual), I’ve been interested in the potential of digital cash, which is finally arriving in the form of...

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Machine-learned epidemiology: real-time detection of foodborne illness at scale

Paper by Ashish Jha et al: “Machine learning has become an increasingly powerful tool for solving complex problems, and its application in public health has been underutilized. The objective of this study is to test the efficacy of a machine-learned model of foodborne illness detection in a real-world setting. To this end, we built FINDER, a machine-learned model for real-time detection of foodborne illness using anonymous and...

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Barriers to Using Government Data: Extended Analysis of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s Survey of Federal Agencies and Offices

Report from the Bipartisan Policy Center: “Policymakers face many demands from constituents, budgetary processes, and their commitment to providing good services for the American people. This last concern is made easier when policymakers have access to reliable information to guide their decisions. But access to data and the ability to turn those data into evidence to inform decisions can be hampered by legal restrictions on access...

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An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations

Article by Luciano Floridi et al: “…reports the findings of AI4People, a year-long initiative designed to lay the foundations for a “Good AI Society”. We introduce the core opportunities and risks of AI for society; present a synthesis of five ethical principles that should undergird its development and adoption; and offer 20 concrete recommendations – to assess, to develop, to incentivise, and to support good...

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Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

Atul Gawande at the New Yorker: “….More than ninety per cent of American hospitals have been computerized during the past decade, and more than half of Americans have their health information in the Epic system. Seventy thousand employees of Partners HealthCare—spread across twelve hospitals and hundreds of clinics in New England—were going to have to adopt the new software. I was in the first wave of implementation, along...

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Neighbourhood Data: Exploring the Role of Open Data in Locally Devolved Policymaking Processes

Paper by Ian G. Johnson et al: “There is a growing public, political, and academic discourse around the idea that data has the potential to empower citizens. In particular, evidence-based policymaking is at the centre of national and regional planning processes. At the same time a shift towards Localism in planning means that while citizens and civic groups are centrally involved in decision-making about their communities, they lack...

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Governing Open Data Platforms to Cultivate Innovation Ecosystems: The Case of the Government of Buenos Aires

Paper by Carla Bonina, Ben Eaton and Stefan Henningsson: “Open Government Data (OGD) is increasingly an object of research. Whilst referred to as a platform problem, few studies examine the phenomenon using platform concepts. One challenge governments face is to establish thriving OGD ecosystems through appropriate platform governance. The governance of innovating complements on the demand side of platforms, such as services using...

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Governments fail to capitalise on swaths of open data

Valentina Romei in the Financial Times: “…Behind the push for open data is a desire to make governments more transparent, accountable and efficient — but also to allow businesses to create products and services that spark economic development. The global annual opportunity cost of failing to do this effectively is about $5tn, according to one estimate from McKinsey, the consultancy. The UK is not the only country falling short,...

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Beyond Open vs. Closed: Balancing Individual Privacy and Public Accountability in Data Sharing

Paper by Bill Howe et al: “Data too sensitive to be “open” for analysis and re-purposing typically remains “closed” as proprietary information. This dichotomy undermines efforts to make algorithmic systems more fair, transparent, and accountable. Access to proprietary data in particular is needed by government agencies to enforce policy, researchers to evaluate methods, and the public to hold agencies accountable; all of...