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Posted by Rob Knies
On Feb. 28, at the Santa Clara (Calif.) Convention Center, Kate Crawford, principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, took the stage during the Strata Conference to deliver an illuminating, 17-minute talk entitled Algorithmic Illusions: Hidden Biases of Big Data.During that presentation, she cautioned that data and collections of data are not objective. They are created and shaped by human beings, and understanding the unavoidable hidden biases people bring to data collection and analysis can be as significant as the data themselves.Now, on the heels of that appearance, Crawford is bringing a similar message to a different audience, that of the Harvard Business Review, which has just published her contributed article, Big Data Has a Signal Problem, that underscores the concepts she discussed during Strata 2013.
Over at the Next at Microsoft blog, Steve Clayton has just published a post about the latest issue of the Things We’ve Learnt About … series from the Socio-Digital Systems (SDS) group at Microsoft Research Cambridge.This issue, the third in this compelling, visually stunning series of magazine-type treatments, focuses on search and web use—or, more specifically, what it means to move beyond search.The latest copy is available for download, as are its predecessors, which addressed the areas of communication and memory, respectively. What you’ll find is a few dozen pages of incisive text blocks, liberally seasoned with eye-popping graphics, that look beyond the search engines and mechanisms currently in vogue to what the future could hold.
Over the past year, the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), a New York City-based public-private research center created by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in conjunction with New York University, has advanced from creation to gaining traction in its mission of using the city as a living laboratory and classroom to help cities around the world become more productive, livable, equitable, and resilient.CUSP relies on urban informatics—the acquisition, integration, and analysis of data to understand and improve urban systems and the quality of city life.Over the past year, Microsoft Research New York City has advanced from creation to gaining traction in its mission to advance the state of the art in computational and behavioral social sciences, computational economics and prediction markets, machine learning, and informational retrieval.See any parallels there? You’re not the only one.
The second day of the Microsoft Research Machine Learning Summit 2013 got off to a rousing start with an hour-long plenary keynote by serial entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners.Hauser, a physicist and a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, and the Royal Academy of Engineering, has a long, successful history of in incubating IT companies, including U.K. computer maker Acorn Computers, a former subsidiary of which is now known as ARM Holdings, which dominates the market for chips used in mobile phones.His talk was called Machine Learning, the 6th Wave of Computing, and he began by referring back to 1947 and the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), a prototype computer constructed by British computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes at the University of Cambridge.
The Microsoft Research Machine Learning Summit 2013 concluded with a plenary panel discussion titled Data Challenges and Opportunities in the Next Decade. Chaired by Jeannette Wing, Microsoft vice president and head of Microsoft Research International, the discussion included Eric Horvitz, Microsoft distinguished scientist and managing co-director of Microsoft Research Redmond; Michel Cosnard, president of Inria; Iain Buchan of the University of Manchester; and Lionel Tarassenko of the University of Oxford.My previous post ended with Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, stating that machine learning would have a profound effect on the future of health care. That was interesting, because I had planned for the final post from the summit to focus on that very subject.Buchan is quite aware of that potential. A clinical professor of Public Health Informatics at the University of Manchester and director of the MRC Health eResearch Centre, his research interests lie in building effective models of health and in connecting patients and health professionals with more potent health information.