In an attempt to figure out how we can do more to change the world, Social Media Week brought five leading thinkers in the data and analytics field to discuss some of the big questions surrounding data’s impact on social change.
Brian Reich, Director, Hive/USA for UNHCR, led a session on why we aren’t doing more with data analytics and science to discover solutions for social good, and what some of the barriers are to doing this.
Panelists included Christine Campigotto (Social Sector Lead, Civis Analytics), Matthew Daniels (Creator, Polygraph), Ari Wallach (CEO, FastCompany Futures), and Mike Williams (Research engineer, Fast Forward Labs).
“Can we solve the world’s more complex problems with big data?” Ari Wallach sums the answer up saying, “desire is there, but the ability to access it across platforms is not there.” Another valid point was voiced from Mike Williams, adding that part of the problem therein lies in getting the human capital (the data scientists) to the table, since the money is elsewhere.
This poses a strong argument that was echoed by others throughout the talk, this idea of getting the best people, those at the top of their fields, to do the right thing with their skills. While this may be a valid reason as to what’s stoping us from solving the big problems, it illuminates an important idea about the altruistic nature of each of us.
Christine Camigotto spoke to this bigger philosophical component of the question, “The unit of measure is a human, and we know that humans don’t always behave rationally.”
If we all assume that someone else will do it, what happens when no one does? There’s no allusion of the truth here, most of us are out for ourselves, but if none of us are mining the solutions to social issues and creating social good for us collectively, who will? How can we change the world if we don’t help?
Data allows us to capture valuable insights, mine and measure information that can aid in changing the entire landscape of a business or cause. The power of data is not lost on any of us who work with social media or with data science.
Read the full session recap at SMW News
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