General

Big Data’s Effects in Poor Communities

From Venture Beat:

Big data can help solve problems that are too big for one person to wrap their head around. It’s helped businesses cut costs, cities plan new developments, intelligence agencies discover connections between terrorists, health officials predict outbreaks, and police forces get ahead of crime. Decision-makers are increasingly told to “listen to the data,” and make choices informed by the outputs of complex algorithms.

But when the data is about humans—especially those who lack a strong voice—those algorithms can become oppressive rather than liberating. For many poor people in the U.S., the data that’s gathered about them at every turn can obstruct attempts to escape poverty…

(Read more)