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DataFramed

#212 The History of Data and AI, and Where It's Headed with Cristina Alaimo, Assistant Professor at Luiss Guido Carli University

Mon Jun 03 2024
datahistorysociologyorganizationstechnologydataificationverificationcertificationregulationwork

Description

The episode explores the history and sociology of data, its role in modern organizations, dataification and the ecosystem of data, data verification and certification, data regulation and societal implications, the impact of data on work and regulation, and the complex nature of data.

Insights

The history and sociology of data provide insights into current challenges and opportunities in the age of data.

Studying the history of data can help us understand the transformations it has brought to everyday life and institutions.

Advancements in technology have significantly transformed how data is collected, represented, manipulated, and utilized within organizations and society at large.

The current era of digital technologies opens up new possibilities for intelligent machines like generative AI.

Data work involves entirely new practices, ways of manipulating data, and accessing data, impacting both technological and sociological processes.

The emergence of new data technologies raises questions about the compatibility of existing institutions with these changes.

Introduction of large language models into the digital ad ecosystem could significantly change the nature of the ecosystem by enabling real-time reactions based on user sentiment.

Technological advancements do not eliminate the need for human decisions in defining specific sentiments or reactions in users.

Surveillance has evolved to involve tracking user behavior and requires a balance between regulation and user access to services.

Data literacy is crucial for society to actively participate in discussions around data regulation.

Chapters

  1. The History and Sociology of Data
  2. The Role of Data in Modern Organizations
  3. Dataification and the Ecosystem of Data
  4. Data Verification, Certification, and Shifting Ecosystem
  5. Data Regulation and Societal Implications
  6. The Impact of Data on Work and Regulation
  7. The Complex Nature of Data
Summary
Transcript

The History and Sociology of Data

00:00 - 08:01

  • The history and sociology of data is explored in the book 'Data Rules' by Christina Alaimo and Janis Galenikos.
  • Data has become foundational to modern society and organizations, leading to paradigm shifts in organizational structure and culture.
  • The use of data tokens, such as clay artifacts, dates back to ancient times as symbols of transactions.
  • Data has transformed everyday life and institutions, reshaping how we study, work, communicate, and make decisions.
  • Studying the history of data can provide insights into current challenges and opportunities in the age of data.

The Role of Data in Modern Organizations

07:43 - 16:21

  • The history of data is intertwined with the development of institutions and modern public organizations, such as the state and corporations.
  • The use of data has been pivotal in the emergence of modern ways of doing business, including the need for internal data to track goods, resources, and workers within large corporations.
  • Advancements in technology, such as machines and digital technologies, have significantly transformed how data is collected, represented, manipulated, and utilized within organizations and society at large.
  • The current era of digital technologies is ushering in new possibilities for intelligent machines like generative AI, which are based on the vast amounts of data being produced.

Dataification and the Ecosystem of Data

15:57 - 23:57

  • The emergence of new data technologies raises questions about the compatibility of existing institutions with the changes brought by large language models and artificial intelligence.
  • Data work involves entirely new practices, ways of manipulating data, and accessing data, impacting both technological and sociological processes.
  • Dataification is the encoding of events or life episodes into data tokens, representing life in data.
  • The ecosystem of dataification involves complex processes, life cycles, and actors, such as in programmatic advertising where auctions for online ad space rely on intricate data objects to measure user attention.

Data Verification, Certification, and Shifting Ecosystem

23:36 - 31:27

  • The process of data verification and certification involves decision-making and is linked to existing practices.
  • Introduction of large language models into the digital ad ecosystem could significantly change the nature of the ecosystem by enabling real-time reactions based on user sentiment.
  • Technological advancements do not eliminate the need for human decisions in defining specific sentiments or reactions in users.
  • Shifts in technology and data usage will lead to changes in the ecosystem, with new actors emerging and utilizing technologies differently.
  • The concept of digital surveillance is viewed from a different perspective, suggesting that it involves user participation and complex production chains beyond just being surveilled.

Data Regulation and Societal Implications

31:06 - 38:49

  • Surveillance has evolved to involve tracking user behavior and requires a balance between regulation and user access to services.
  • There is a need for regulating data beyond just tracking devices, considering the broader societal impacts and implications.
  • Data literacy is crucial for society to understand the role of data in shaping our lives and to actively participate in discussions around data regulation.
  • Involvement of civil society, beyond companies and regulators, is essential in the debate on data regulation to ensure a well-rounded discussion and decision-making process.

The Impact of Data on Work and Regulation

38:28 - 46:44

  • Data plays a significant role in blurring boundaries between work and private life, leading to homogeneity in activities done through digital devices.
  • The blurring of boundaries due to data impacts economic institutions, allowing them to expand beyond traditional sectors and provide new services.
  • Regulation is crucial for addressing urgent matters like AI governance, accountability in data usage, and ensuring fair practices within the evolving ecosystem of data production.

The Complex Nature of Data

46:27 - 49:16

  • Data is seen as complex cognitive artifacts that shape institutions and communication.
  • Advocating for addressing complex issues like data regulation in a nuanced way rather than simplifying them.
  • Encouraging the exploration of data beyond just a technological tool, emphasizing the importance of discussing fundamental aspects of data.
  • Promoting the idea of a social science of data to foster open discussions and avoid delegating important societal decisions solely to technology.
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