Data ethnographer: the most crucial design job of the future

Data inside of algorithms is incredibly symbiotic with the algorithm itself. In product design, the data fed to algorithms determines the characteristics of a product. This implies radical transparency and giving consumers access to an algorithm’s data set, so they can make informed decisions about the technology that increasingly shapes their lives. It also implies data ethnographers and data ethnography. Designer Caroline Sinders explains in Fast Co.Design.

Sinders defines data ethnography as the study of the data that feeds technology, looking at it from a cultural perspective as well as a data science perspective. Data ethnography is a narrower, but no less crucial, field than data science: Data is a reflection of society, and it is not neutral; it is as complex as the people who make it.