Seeking meaning in a Big Data world

The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s new national centre for data science, will focus on “drawing value out of the data”, writes Emily Cadman in the Financial Times.

According to the Institute’s website, the mission is to “undertake data science research at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, statistics and systems engineering; provide technically informed advice to policy makers on the wider implications of algorithms; enable researchers from industry and academia to work together to undertake research with practical applications; and act as a magnet for leaders in academia and industry from around the world to engage with the UK in data science and its applications.”

The Institute’s open positions are for “people with the statistical and analytical skills to understand what the data actually means.”

It remains perplexing to us how algorithms and data analysis are seen so exclusively as the only way to achieve value and meaning. What about other more meaning-focused disciplines, such as ethnography, sociology, psychology and design?