Last week, Network chair Beth Simone Noveck gave one of the keynote talks at the Rich Data Summit, “the world’s leading conference focused on turning big data into rich, meaningful data.” The talk, which closed the event, focused on “The Power of Open Data and Open Government.” The event was summarized by Melissa Bierly at the Mode Blog, highlighting four major data science insights surfaced at the event.
“3. Don’t just do well. Do something good.
‘Data by itself isn’t worth anything unless there’s a problem to solve and a community to solve it.’ - Beth Noveck, Founder and Professor at The GovLab
If the number of nonprofit organizations on the roster were any indication, we’ve come a long way since 2011 when Jeff Hammerbacher of Cloudera said “The greatest minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.”
Catherine Bracy (Code for America), Beth Noveck (The GovLab), and Wendy Kan (Kaggle) all shared examples of how data scientists are using quantitative skills to solve social problems. Perhaps the most passionate talk came from Eric Schles, who uses Python to stop human trafficking by scraping and analyzing text from sites frequented by perpetrators.
Crowdsourcing is the foundation of many of these organizations. The GovLab is crowdsourcing experts in evacuation planning and redevelopment to help city officials in Quito, Ecuador prepare for the likely eruption of a nearby volcano. Schles’s Hacking Against Slavery project depends on the contributions of many to eventually build software to combat slavery.”