Ethan Zuckerman

PIT Community News: "The PIT UNiverse Newsletter"

Published Originally by New America

The PIT UNiverse Newsletter

May 2024

Data is often heralded as a new kind of precious commodity, a virtual “gold” or “oil” in humanity’s next frontiers. The phrase “data-driven” has come to imply a special kind of knowledge and insight vastly superior to anything humans created during the 200,000 years of our shared history that preceded modern computers. 

Public interest technologists have interrogated this logic from the start, this belief in the power, superiority, and wisdom of data that belies a deeper, almost religious faith in numbers as neutral and quantitative reasoning as a superior way to organize the messy and complex world we inhabit. Public interest technologists continually ask questions about the sources, processes, frameworks, and assumptions that steer our collection and use of data. Without these critical modes of analysis and practice, we risk not only repeating the biases of the past but also baking them into the algorithms that increasingly shape individual and societal outcomes.

In this issue, Francisca Garcìa-Cobiàn Richter (Case Western Reserve University) reminds us that data science and statistics are not neutral, but are fundamentally shaped by power dynamics, and she describes a new framework for integrating community feedback and reducing bias in social science research. Our PIT in Practice Profile illustrates a unique data literacy program at the Georgia State University library and public policy school. Data and human rights takes center stage at the June 6 Tech for Humanity Summit, and registration for the livestream is now open. 

As always, we’d love to feature your programs and ideas here in the PIT UNiverse newsletter – get in touch with us via the form at the bottom of this page.

Full Link:

2024 PIT-UN Network Challenge - PIT-UN
The PIT-UN Challenge seeks to encourage new ideas, foster collaborations, and incentivize resource and information sharing among members.