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The Open Revolution: rewriting the rules of the information age

- June 13, 2018 in International

Economist und Open Data Advocate Rufus Pollocks neues Buch, “Die offene Revolution: Die Regeln des Informationszeitalters” stellt sich das Eigentum im digitalen Zeitalter neu vor, und ist jetzt online verfügbar unter openrevolution.net. Wird die digitale Revolution uns digitale Diktaturen oder digitale Demokratien bringen? Vergessen Sie alles, was Sie über das digitale Zeitalter zu wissen glauben. Es geht nicht um Privatsphäre, Überwachung, KI oder Blockchain – es geht um Eigentum. Denn wer im digitalen Zeitalter Informationen besitzt, kontrolliert die Zukunft. Informationen sind heute überall. Von Ihrer DNA bis zu den neuesten Blockbustern, von lebensrettenden Medikamenten bis zur App auf Ihrem Handy, von großen Daten bis zu Algorithmen. Unsere gesamte globale Wirtschaft ist darauf aufgebaut und die Regeln um Informationen betreffen uns jeden Tag. Da Informationen immer mehr in den digitalen Bereich gelangen, können sie problemlos kopiert und verteilt werden, was den Zugriff und die Kontrolle noch wichtiger macht. Aber die Regeln, die wir dafür aufgestellt haben und die sich aus der Art und Weise ableiten, wie wir mit physischem Eigentum umgehen, sind hoffnungslos unangepasst an die digitale Welt. In diesem dringenden und provokativen Buch zeigt Rufus Pollock, dass wir uns entscheiden müssen, ob wir Informationen offen, von allen geteilt oder geschlossen, ausschließlich im Besitz und unter Kontrolle halten, und wie die heutige geschlossene digitale Wirtschaft die Quelle von Problemen ist, die von wachsender Ungleichheit über unerschwingliche Medikamente bis hin zur Macht einer Handvoll technischer Monopole reichen, um zu kontrollieren, wie wir denken und abstimmen. Die Entscheidung für Open ist der Weg in eine gerechtere, innovativere und profitablere Zukunft für alle. Holen Sie sich das Buch und erfahren Sie mehr auf openrevolution.net. Rufus Pollock interagiert regelmässig mit der Schweizer Community, am nächsten mit seiner Keynote am Opendata.ch/2018 – 3. Juli

Transparency, algorithms and data

- May 24, 2018 in algorithmic transparency, blog, data transparency, Events, International, Open Democracy, travel

Notes from the Data Transparency Lab 2017 in Barcelona

As part of Open Knowledge Finland, I attended the Data Transparency Lab(DTL) Conference in Barcelona last December. Unfortunately I only managed to attend the second day but since the sessions were recorded, I will be watching the rest online soon. Nevertheless, the second day had a lot of interesting talks and people, and I’d thought I’d note here some of the highlights.

The sessions, seemed to have an emphasis on transparency in the times of algorithmic complexity, which was great to listen to, even more so because the topic was covered from multiple angles. It was described from the angles of policy, design, ethics as well as practical demos accordingly in each session. So total the discussions were on a mix of high level discussion as well as practical applications. In this post I’ll try to summarise few of the talks, give some links to the people when possible, and add a few of my own thoughts as well.

The day started with a keynote from Isabella de Michelis from ErnieApp who described their startup’s point of view on companies and personal data. They argue that once users are aware of how they generate value for companies, they would be more willing to shift their permissions to a vendor type relationship rather than a customer one. For example, when owning an IoT connected fridge, a household should be able to get a discount on their electricity bill (since information about the fridge’s contents would be shared eg. to supermarkets for profit). An interesting position for sure, one which could be debated to clash with a later presentation from Illaria Liccardi.

Image from Liccardi’s research on user permission sharing. http://people.csail.mit.edu/ilaria/papers/ShihCHI15.pdf

Illaria Liccardi, as part of the ‘How to foster transparency’ session, presented her research from MIT on how people’s privacy permissions would change on apps they use, depending on the information provided. The results are possibly not as obvious as expected. They actually found that people are much more willing to give permissions for use of their data when no indication of how they will be used is given. However, they are less willing to give permissions to personal data when the reasoning of use is vaguely worded and yet somewhat permissive when there is a more detailed information from the side of the companies. The full research can be found on her page.

These are interesting findings that imply that for the general public to understand and give consent to give out personal data for company profit, there needs to be both an initial motivator from the company side, and also a good balance between sufficient and clear information on it’s use.

Namely, if people are more permissive when knowing less, then it is possible that the path to transparency won’t be as user-driven as expected.

Nozha Boujemaa from DATAIA institute, ( who was also the chair of that session), nicely put it that ‘data-driven does not mean objective’, which is something I can personally imagine myself repeating endlessly, especially in the context of data-driven journalism. A personal favourite entry point to the topic is on feminist data visualisation by Catherine Dignazio, who explainshow data and datasets can be wrongfully coupled with ideas that they are objective or presenting the truth. Nozha Boujemaa also discusses what would computational decision making systems need to be considered transparent. She notes for example that many Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are open sourced yet they are not open-data-ed. Meaning the data they have been trained on are actually proprietary, and since the decisions are actually based on exactly this trained models, then the openness of the algorithms are less useful.

The CNNum, the French national digital council, are actually trying to figure out how to incorporate and implement these principles for accountability in the french regulatory system. Moreover, their approach seemed to be really aware of the environment they are trying to regulate, in terms of diversity, speed of change cycles and they made a good note on the difficulty in actually assessing the impact of power asymmetry caused by algorithms.

Jun Huan (NSF) with the building blocks to model transparency holistically

Jun Huan (NSF) with the building blocks to model transparency holistically. Photo by author.

 

From the Nation Science Foundation (USA), Jun Huan, went a step beyond accountability for algorithmic systems towards their explainability and interpretability. In their research they are creating ways ML systems can identify and therefore indicate when they are actually ‘learning new tasks’ inspired by the human constructivism learning theory. It definitely sounded promising though due to my shallow knowledge on the topic, I am prone to algo-sensationalism!

Simone Fischer-Hubners, professor from Karlstad University, was chairing the session on ‘Discrimination and data Ethics’. She presented real world cases of discrimination and bias, such as the racial discrimination in online ad serving, price discrimination based on operating system used, predictive policing as well as an example case of gender discrimination in bibliometric profiling based on biased input data (women are less likely to self-cite). The last example is especially interesting because it highlights, that when we refer to biased computer decision making systems we tend to refer to the computational side of the system. However as in the example of the bibliometric profiling in academia, women are less likely to self-cite therefore already the ranking carries the initial biased sample of reality.

Julia Stoyanovich explaining why we should asses data science in its whole lifecycle.

Julia Stoyanovich explaining why we should asses data science in its whole lifecycle.

Julia Stoyanovich referred to that we should be assessing the fairness, accountability and transparency throughout the full data science lifecycle in order to be able to make valid conclusions on such systems. Her research with Data Responsibly, is actually centered around this topic as well. Last but not least, Gemma Galdon Clavell from Eticas added their own approach on research and consulting on ethical issues arising from technology and the importance of creating assessment criteria for technologies on society.

DTL actually funds projects globally, many actually awarded to university research groups, to create tools on the theme of data transparency. A part of the sessions was actually devoted exactly to those tools developed during 2017. The demos seemed by majority to be browser add-ons (and an app if I recall correctly ) that inform users on privacy leaks and ad targeting. Relevant topics for sure, though I admit I did catch myself pondering the irony of most privacy related add-ons being developed for Chrome..

The way I see it is that these subjects should eventually be discussed in even more wide audiences since they will affect the majority and in our daily life. It is therefore great to hear the researchers, dedicated circles and organisations who are actively working on these topics first hand.

Keep it open!

The post Transparency, algorithms and data appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

Transparency, algorithms and data

- May 24, 2018 in algorithmic transparency, blog, data transparency, Events, International, Open Democracy, travel

Notes from the Data Transparency Lab 2017 in Barcelona

As part of Open Knowledge Finland, I attended the Data Transparency Lab(DTL) Conference in Barcelona last December. Unfortunately I only managed to attend the second day but since the sessions were recorded, I will be watching the rest online soon. Nevertheless, the second day had a lot of interesting talks and people, and I’d thought I’d note here some of the highlights.

The sessions, seemed to have an emphasis on transparency in the times of algorithmic complexity, which was great to listen to, even more so because the topic was covered from multiple angles. It was described from the angles of policy, design, ethics as well as practical demos accordingly in each session. So total the discussions were on a mix of high level discussion as well as practical applications. In this post I’ll try to summarise few of the talks, give some links to the people when possible, and add a few of my own thoughts as well.

The day started with a keynote from Isabella de Michelis from ErnieApp who described their startup’s point of view on companies and personal data. They argue that once users are aware of how they generate value for companies, they would be more willing to shift their permissions to a vendor type relationship rather than a customer one. For example, when owning an IoT connected fridge, a household should be able to get a discount on their electricity bill (since information about the fridge’s contents would be shared eg. to supermarkets for profit). An interesting position for sure, one which could be debated to clash with a later presentation from Illaria Liccardi.

Image from Liccardi’s research on user permission sharing. http://people.csail.mit.edu/ilaria/papers/ShihCHI15.pdf

Illaria Liccardi, as part of the ‘How to foster transparency’ session, presented her research from MIT on how people’s privacy permissions would change on apps they use, depending on the information provided. The results are possibly not as obvious as expected. They actually found that people are much more willing to give permissions for use of their data when no indication of how they will be used is given. However, they are less willing to give permissions to personal data when the reasoning of use is vaguely worded and yet somewhat permissive when there is a more detailed information from the side of the companies. The full research can be found on her page.

These are interesting findings that imply that for the general public to understand and give consent to give out personal data for company profit, there needs to be both an initial motivator from the company side, and also a good balance between sufficient and clear information on it’s use.

Namely, if people are more permissive when knowing less, then it is possible that the path to transparency won’t be as user-driven as expected.

Nozha Boujemaa from DATAIA institute, ( who was also the chair of that session), nicely put it that ‘data-driven does not mean objective’, which is something I can personally imagine myself repeating endlessly, especially in the context of data-driven journalism. A personal favourite entry point to the topic is on feminist data visualisation by Catherine Dignazio, who explainshow data and datasets can be wrongfully coupled with ideas that they are objective or presenting the truth. Nozha Boujemaa also discusses what would computational decision making systems need to be considered transparent. She notes for example that many Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are open sourced yet they are not open-data-ed. Meaning the data they have been trained on are actually proprietary, and since the decisions are actually based on exactly this trained models, then the openness of the algorithms are less useful.

The CNNum, the French national digital council, are actually trying to figure out how to incorporate and implement these principles for accountability in the french regulatory system. Moreover, their approach seemed to be really aware of the environment they are trying to regulate, in terms of diversity, speed of change cycles and they made a good note on the difficulty in actually assessing the impact of power asymmetry caused by algorithms.

Jun Huan (NSF) with the building blocks to model transparency holistically

Jun Huan (NSF) with the building blocks to model transparency holistically. Photo by author.

 

From the Nation Science Foundation (USA), Jun Huan, went a step beyond accountability for algorithmic systems towards their explainability and interpretability. In their research they are creating ways ML systems can identify and therefore indicate when they are actually ‘learning new tasks’ inspired by the human constructivism learning theory. It definitely sounded promising though due to my shallow knowledge on the topic, I am prone to algo-sensationalism!

Simone Fischer-Hubners, professor from Karlstad University, was chairing the session on ‘Discrimination and data Ethics’. She presented real world cases of discrimination and bias, such as the racial discrimination in online ad serving, price discrimination based on operating system used, predictive policing as well as an example case of gender discrimination in bibliometric profiling based on biased input data (women are less likely to self-cite). The last example is especially interesting because it highlights, that when we refer to biased computer decision making systems we tend to refer to the computational side of the system. However as in the example of the bibliometric profiling in academia, women are less likely to self-cite therefore already the ranking carries the initial biased sample of reality.

Julia Stoyanovich explaining why we should asses data science in its whole lifecycle.

Julia Stoyanovich explaining why we should asses data science in its whole lifecycle.

Julia Stoyanovich referred to that we should be assessing the fairness, accountability and transparency throughout the full data science lifecycle in order to be able to make valid conclusions on such systems. Her research with Data Responsibly, is actually centered around this topic as well. Last but not least, Gemma Galdon Clavell from Eticas added their own approach on research and consulting on ethical issues arising from technology and the importance of creating assessment criteria for technologies on society.

DTL actually funds projects globally, many actually awarded to university research groups, to create tools on the theme of data transparency. A part of the sessions was actually devoted exactly to those tools developed during 2017. The demos seemed by majority to be browser add-ons (and an app if I recall correctly ) that inform users on privacy leaks and ad targeting. Relevant topics for sure, though I admit I did catch myself pondering the irony of most privacy related add-ons being developed for Chrome..

The way I see it is that these subjects should eventually be discussed in even more wide audiences since they will affect the majority and in our daily life. It is therefore great to hear the researchers, dedicated circles and organisations who are actively working on these topics first hand.

Keep it open!

The post Transparency, algorithms and data appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

Open Data Day 3.3.2018

- February 17, 2018 in Bern, Genève, International

Samstag, 3. März, ist Internationaler Tag der offenen Daten, und die Community von Opendata.ch trifft sich dieses Jahr im Effinger in Bern (Anmeldung via Link) und bei IFRC in Genf (Anmeldung und Details folgen). Interaktive Displays werden die frischesten offenen Datenprojekte zeigen. Anrufe zu anderen Städten und Ländern werden organisiert, und wir nutzen die Gelegenheit, um Menschen und Daten zu verbinden, und zukünftige Veranstaltungen zu planen. Der Open Data Day ist eine jährliche Feier der offenen Daten in aller Welt. Zum siebten Mal in der Geschichte werden Gruppen aus der ganzen Welt an dem Tag, an dem sie offene Daten in ihren Gemeinden verwenden, lokale Veranstaltungen organisieren. Es ist eine Gelegenheit, die Vorteile offener Daten aufzuzeigen und die Einführung offener Datenpolitiken in Regierung, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft zu fördern. Alle Ausgänge sind offen zur Nutzung und Wiederverwendung. Mehr erfahren:

Condatos 2017 and Abrelatam: Latin American Open Data Conference

- September 8, 2017 in Allgemein, Daten, event, International

Until one month ago, I had the pleasure to work as a community manager for Opendata.ch, co-coordinating the “Business Innovation food.opendata” and supporting different food-related open data projects that came out of the Open Food Hackdays in February 2017. In the beginning of August, I changed the scenery. For the coming year, I’m going to be studying in Costa Rica in Central America, finishing my Master’s degree in Strategy and International Management. Living in this new context and in a new culture, I was very curious how the open data world would look like in this part of the world. Two weeks ago, from August 23 to 25, 2017, I now had the chance to take part in the regional open data conference of Latin America, taking place in San José, Costa Rica. With this blog post, I would like to share with you the impressions I had and what the open data movement in Latin America is all about. In the following lines I will describe the various conversations with people from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, and all the way down until Argentina.

Open Data in Latin America – A civil society movement

Latin America is a region that faces a lot of issues – ranging from corrupt governments to lack in infrastructure and services to large inequalities in income and wealth. In times of digitalization, these inequalities become even bigger as the lack in infrastructure and resources leads to an inaccessibility to new technologies and education for many people in the region – widening ever more the gap between the more privileged and the poor. In order to close this gap, various civil society organizations started to collect their own data with the help of citizens in order to visualize and get information about the problems existing in the different countries. Further, many journalists are switching to data journalism in order to discover irregularities within the processes of sometimes corrupt governments. Open Data also helps governments themselves to keep transparency and figure – avoiding the huge economic costs that corruption entails. The Abrelatam and Condatos 2017 conferences were a gathering of around 300 civil society and data journalism practitioners from all over Latin America – including countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina – together forming a community to jointly address these issues.

Creativity is key

It was very impressive to see, with what professionality and creativity this conference was presented. The open data community in Latin America did a very good job in However, not only the visual design of the conference was very appealing. The conference itself consisted of a very interesting mix between collaborative brainstorming in form of an unconference – Abrelatam – the day before the actual two days of conference, where participants could share their thoughts and concerns. The following days were between talks and interactive workshops, allowing people to simultaneously gain more knowledge and apply this directly in practice. The issues talked about, the professional and creative presentation – especially in comparison to other events in Latin America – and a very motivated and inspired crowd made this gathering a very progressive and creative space where innovation actually could happen.

Open Data is a government priority

Who thinks that open data in Latin America is a minor movement that takes place at the periphery of society by a few geeks is very wrong. Facing a lot of challenges innovative governments in Latin America have recognized that in order to solve the social issues they need the help of the civil society and it’s citizens. That governments have recognized the potential that lies in open data is maybe best materialized in the presence of the President of the Republic Costa Rica who was present in the closing ceremony of the conference where he hold a keynote speech. In his words, there is a strong necessity for institutions to change and this can only take place in an interplay between governments, civil society and academia. Costa Rica actually started an initiative called “Gobierno Abierto” (Engl.: “Open Government”). Also in the panel about fighting corruption with open data it become clear that many of the Latin American governments are honestly attempting to make administration processes more efficient and transparent through open data. The way to go however still remains very large.

Where is Open Data in Latin America going?

Finally, it is to say that open data is in a very interesting stage in Latin America. This in the sense that the collection and publication of data through citizens actually can contribute to detect and visualize and create new solutions for problems that exist through a lack of governmental and institutional voids. Unfortunately, the role of businesses in this process hasn’t been discussed at large during this conference. Even though there were sessions on how to scale impact of open data initiatives and how to create business models, these were not merely targeted towards big corporations in the region. However, there seems to be a big potential for businesses especially in countries where there often exist a lack of basic government services. Finally, it became very clear among all the participants that there is a need for a change in mindset within Latin America’s society in order to push the agenda of the open data movement further. The fact that governments are starting to take on the efforts of the open data movement seems promising, but it also becomes clear that the members of the conference are far from being a representative sample of the Latin American society. In this sense, open data has to be pushed even further and be made more inclusive for the region’s citizens. All in all, I spent some very interesting days in San José where I met many very engaged and highly talented people pushing the open data agenda for Latin America further. As described, I personally think that this community consists over some very valuable skills in this region of the world to have a big influence and become a force for positive change – I will be very glad to follow this further. By Florian Wieser, September 5, 2017, from San José, Costa Rica.

Condatos 2017 and Abrelatam: Latin American Open Data Conference

- September 8, 2017 in Allgemein, Daten, event, International

Until one month ago, I had the pleasure to work as a community manager for Opendata.ch, co-coordinating the “Business Innovation food.opendata” and supporting different food-related open data projects that came out of the Open Food Hackdays in February 2017. In the beginning of August, I changed the scenery. For the coming year, I’m going to be studying in Costa Rica in Central America, finishing my Master’s degree in Strategy and International Management. Living in this new context and in a new culture, I was very curious how the open data world would look like in this part of the world. Two weeks ago, from August 23 to 25, 2017, I now had the chance to take part in the regional open data conference of Latin America, taking place in San José, Costa Rica. With this blog post, I would like to share with you the impressions I had and what the open data movement in Latin America is all about. In the following lines I will describe the various conversations with people from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, and all the way down until Argentina.

Open Data in Latin America – A civil society movement

Latin America is a region that faces a lot of issues – ranging from corrupt governments to lack in infrastructure and services to large inequalities in income and wealth. In times of digitalization, these inequalities become even bigger as the lack in infrastructure and resources leads to an inaccessibility to new technologies and education for many people in the region – widening ever more the gap between the more privileged and the poor. In order to close this gap, various civil society organizations started to collect their own data with the help of citizens in order to visualize and get information about the problems existing in the different countries. Further, many journalists are switching to data journalism in order to discover irregularities within the processes of sometimes corrupt governments. Open Data also helps governments themselves to keep transparency and figure – avoiding the huge economic costs that corruption entails. The Abrelatam and Condatos 2017 conferences were a gathering of around 300 civil society and data journalism practitioners from all over Latin America – including countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina – together forming a community to jointly address these issues.

Creativity is key

It was very impressive to see, with what professionality and creativity this conference was presented. The open data community in Latin America did a very good job in However, not only the visual design of the conference was very appealing. The conference itself consisted of a very interesting mix between collaborative brainstorming in form of an unconference – Abrelatam – the day before the actual two days of conference, where participants could share their thoughts and concerns. The following days were between talks and interactive workshops, allowing people to simultaneously gain more knowledge and apply this directly in practice. The issues talked about, the professional and creative presentation – especially in comparison to other events in Latin America – and a very motivated and inspired crowd made this gathering a very progressive and creative space where innovation actually could happen.

Open Data is a government priority

Who thinks that open data in Latin America is a minor movement that takes place at the periphery of society by a few geeks is very wrong. Facing a lot of challenges innovative governments in Latin America have recognized that in order to solve the social issues they need the help of the civil society and it’s citizens. That governments have recognized the potential that lies in open data is maybe best materialized in the presence of the President of the Republic Costa Rica who was present in the closing ceremony of the conference where he hold a keynote speech. In his words, there is a strong necessity for institutions to change and this can only take place in an interplay between governments, civil society and academia. Costa Rica actually started an initiative called “Gobierno Abierto” (Engl.: “Open Government”). Also in the panel about fighting corruption with open data it become clear that many of the Latin American governments are honestly attempting to make administration processes more efficient and transparent through open data. The way to go however still remains very large.

Where is Open Data in Latin America going?

Finally, it is to say that open data is in a very interesting stage in Latin America. This in the sense that the collection and publication of data through citizens actually can contribute to detect and visualize and create new solutions for problems that exist through a lack of governmental and institutional voids. Unfortunately, the role of businesses in this process hasn’t been discussed at large during this conference. Even though there were sessions on how to scale impact of open data initiatives and how to create business models, these were not merely targeted towards big corporations in the region. However, there seems to be a big potential for businesses especially in countries where there often exist a lack of basic government services. Finally, it became very clear among all the participants that there is a need for a change in mindset within Latin America’s society in order to push the agenda of the open data movement further. The fact that governments are starting to take on the efforts of the open data movement seems promising, but it also becomes clear that the members of the conference are far from being a representative sample of the Latin American society. In this sense, open data has to be pushed even further and be made more inclusive for the region’s citizens. All in all, I spent some very interesting days in San José where I met many very engaged and highly talented people pushing the open data agenda for Latin America further. As described, I personally think that this community consists over some very valuable skills in this region of the world to have a big influence and become a force for positive change – I will be very glad to follow this further. By Florian Wieser, September 5, 2017, from San José, Costa Rica.

Opendata.ch 2016-10-12 08:42:24

- October 12, 2016 in Forschung, International

Im Auftrag der Europäischen Kommission wurde zum zweiten Mal die Open Data Maturity europäischer Länder untersucht. Insite IT fasst das Ziel der Studie wie folgt zusammen:

«Die Studie prüft den Reifegrad von Open Data in der EU28+, also inklusive Norwegen, Schweiz und Liechtenstein und dies in zwei Bereichen: Open Data Readiness umfasst die Förderung und den Entwicklungsstand von nationalen Open-Data-Richtlinien. Und der Open-Data-Reifegrad, beurteilt die in nationalen Portalen angebotenen Funktionen wie UX oder Maschinenlesbarkeit der Daten.»
Betrachtet man die EU28+ Staaten, so liegt die Schweiz auf Rang 20. Im weltweiten Vergleich weicht sie sogar auf den 29. Platz zurück. In Bezug auf die Schweiz wird unter anderem der Sonderkurs bzgl. der Lizenzen hervorgehoben:
“Although there are global licences, countries feel the need to have their own specific licence. A particular example of this is Switzerland. The country does not have licences but works with terms of use.”
Die Studie kommt allgemein zum Schluss:
«Countries need to raise more (political) awareness around Open Data, increase automated processes on their portals to increase usability and reusability of data, and organise more events and trainings to support both local and national initiatives.»

Mehr Infos zur Studie finden Sie in deutscher Sprache auf inside-it.ch oder direkt im Bericht der Europäischen Kommission in englischer Sprache.

You are invited to Hack for Ageing Well

- August 2, 2016 in event, International

We are excited to announce Hack for Ageing Well, a two-day hackathon that we are organizing together with the Active and Assistive Living (AAL) programme, which will take place towards the end of September in St. Gallen.

Ageing Well means staying healthy, independent and active at work or in our community during our whole life. It is also a strategy in public policy around disease prevention and early detection, with better use of technology and better training towards a more supportive and accessible environment. We will set out to Hack: to rethink, sketch, prototype or build on existing technologies that – through more usable and considerate design – better support our later years.

Additional information can be found on the website, where you can register to get involved: https://2016.aalhackathon.eu/

Capacity is limited, so please book your (free) ticket if you are thinking of coming. We will soon have additional announcements of challenges and workshops for everyone who signs up!

We would appreciate suggestions if you have ideas of datasets or platforms, or would like to get your institution involved. This event is part of an international series, and we look forward to participants and datasets from around the world.

A collection of readings – by Barnaby Skinner

- July 12, 2016 in Allgemein, International

Dear friends & colleagues,
Dear Community,

I am currently attending a 3 month course at Columbia University in New York (together with Paul Ronga from Tribune de Genève and Mathias Born, Berner Zeitung). We are currently half way into the programme. It’s basically a course for journalists (but not just journalists), to enhance their data gathering, analytic skills (learning Python, Panda libraries, SQL, combining the three, scraping with BeautifulSoup and using Selenium for automated scraping, and much more).

I thought it would be a good moment to reach out to the community and share some of the readings and stories we’ve stubbled across. The main gist is that data driven society in the US may be a little more sophisticated than in Switzerland and Europe in general. But they are actually not all that far ahead. They are dealing with very similar problems and opportunities.

This is just a random collection of readings, which some of you might find inspirational or just offer a different perspective on data and how we deal with it.

Relational and Non-Relational Models in the Entextualization of Bureaucracy by Michael Castelle
http://computationalculture.net/article/relational-and-non-relational-models-in-the-entextualization-of-bureaucracy (a dry read at times, but very rewarding)

Literature is not Data: Against the Digital Humanities by Stephen Marche
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/literature-is-not-data-against-digital-humanities

Machine Bias by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner
https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bias-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing

How the Data Sausage Gets Made: A story about scraping food recalls and regular expressions
https://source.opennews.org/en-US/learning/how-sausage-gets-made/

How open data saved parkers in NYC millions of dollars
http://iquantny.tumblr.com/post/144197004989/the-nypd-was-systematically-ticketing-legally

NICAR-L mailing list
https://www.ire.org/resource-center/listservs/subscribe-nicar-l/

Hope you are all well and look forward to any feedback or comments anybody has on the readings.

Kind regards,
Barnaby 

Dans la vague “Open Data Day 2016”

- March 19, 2016 in Beog-neere, Burkina Faso, General, International, odd16, Open burkina, Open Data Day 2016, Open Knowledge, Open Street Map

Untitled2 Une journée modeste mais riche. L’Open data day 2016 au Burkina a permis de faire progresser l’appropriation de l’open data par l’écosystème et d’explorer de nouveaux domaines pour l’ouverture des données. Et cette fois, c’est le secteur de la santé qui était dans le viseur des militants de l’ouverture des données. Retour sur une journée d’échanges et débats passionnés autour de l’ouverture des données. Ambiance. Dans l’amphithéâtre de l’Institut supérieur privé polytechnique (ISPP) situé à un bout de la nouvelle ville (Ouaga 2000), l’ambiance est chaude ce samedi matin. L’amphi n’est pas remplie. Mais les discussions, passionnées par moment, du petit groupe qui occupe les lieux, font croire à un jour de cours. Une ambiance faite de passion, mais aussi de rires. Quand on discute haut et fort de données sur la santé, notamment où trouver ces données et qu’un participant inspiré vous suggère de chercher du côté des coopératives agricoles…. Imaginez. Bon, la parenthèse de l’Open Data et agriculture a été fermée sans qu’il ne se rende compte. Mais aussi, la confusion est facilement arrivée parce que l’ouverture des données au Burkina progresse d’un secteur à un autre, de l’agriculture à la santé. Bref. Nous sommes dans un pays, le premier dans l’Afrique francophone à s’engager dans un processus d’ouverture des données. Et il était important d’intéresser plus de monde à ce concept à la mode, l’Open Data.   Recap. La communauté open data du Burkina Faso a encore réussi un pari. Celui de conquérir de nouveaux secteurs d’activité et de nouvelles personnes dans le processus de l’ouverture des données. Le secteur de la santé et celui de l’énergie. La célébration de journée de l’ouverture des données s’est faite autour de ces thématiques et a dégagé de bonne perspective, notamment pour ce qui est de l’open data et énergie. Et si vous n’y étiez pas, voici un petit recap en deux points. PHOTO DE COUVERTURE FACEBOOK Qui étaient à la journée Open Data? L’un des objectifs en participant à l’Open Data Day était d’abord de faire connaître l’écosystème existant dans le domaine de l’Open data, permettre aux différents acteurs de se connaitre entre eux. Et ensuite de faire de faire progresser l’appropriation de l’open data par l’ensemble de l’écosystème des données au Burkina Faso.   Les différentes structures présentes et actives dans le domaine de l’Open Data ont été présentées. En l’occurrence, il s’agit de l’Initiative pour un Burkina Ouvert (Open Burkina), Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) Burkina Faso, BEOG NEERE (For a better future), Geek Developers Network (GDN), Burkina Open Data Initiative (BODI), Open Street Map (OSM) et le Fablab Ouagalabs. Une bonne brochette représentative de ce que le pays compte de structures intéressées par l’ouverture des données. On peut dire que depuis la première rencontre tenue en avril 2014 à Jokkolabs, cette communauté a grandi et que l’écosystème de l’Open Data au Burkina se dessine. Il y avait également ce samedi des étudiants en médecine et des professionnels de la santé qui sont venus découvrir l’open data et contribuer au débat sur l’ouverture des données sur la santé.   De quoi a-t-on parlé? De l’importance de la data et des opportunités. La journée a commencé par une mise à niveau des participants. Une bonne partie des étudiants et professionnels de la santé découvrait pour la première fois le concept de l’open data, grâce à la communication introductive donnée par Idriss Tinto, ambassadeur Open Knowledge Foundation au Burkina Faso. La communication a surtout insister sur l’importance de l’ouverture des données pour la démocratie, avec l’exemple édifiant de open élection, pour le développement avec des perspectives et opportunités dans des domaines comme l’éducation, l’agriculture ou la santé. Après cette phase théorique, la journée s’est poursuivi avec des ateliers plus participatifs. Untitled De l’ouverture des données dans le secteur de la santé. Le premier atelier a porté sur l’open data et santé. Assez passionnant. L’idée derrière cet atelier était de présenter les opportunités offertes par l’Open Data dans la santé, d’identifier les données clés à récolter, de se pencher sur leur réutilisation et finalement de poser les jalons d’une stratégie pour l’ouverture des données dans le domaine de la santé. Les échanges ont fait voir de nombreuses opportunités possibles avec les données du domaine de la santé. Reste qu’ils ont aussi révélé une chose de très important: la réticence des acteurs du domaine de la santé, notamment les étudiants qui ont montré des craintes d’intrusion dans leur métier.   D’un projet citoyen basé sur la cartographie. Le second atelier de la journée a porté sur le projet de cartographie des délestages dans la ville de Ouagadougou. Ce projet porté par Open Burkina a été présenté aux participants. Un projet ambitieux qui veut permettre aux Ouagalais de s’adapter à l’inconfort des délestages, en leur donnant une information de qualité à partir des données de la société de fourniture d’électricité. Pour le moins que l’on puisse dire, le projet a reçu des contributions intéressantes qui devront lui permettre d’évoluer et de prendre corps bientôt.   Leçon apprise. à chaque fois qu’il est question d’ouvrir des données, il y a à quelque part des réticences. Et les organisateurs de l’Open Data Day 2016 au Burkina ont bien fait d’inviter des professionnels et étudiants du domaine de la santé pour discuter de l’Open data et santé. Comme quoi, lorsque vous vous intéresser à un domaine, il est important d’associer dès le départ les professionnels du domaine pour savoir leurs craintes, leurs réticences et évoluer ensemble grâce à un débat constructif. Ils sont parfois les premiers alliés, soient en tant que producteurs de données, ou même bénéficiaires. Pour preuve? Le projet, nendo, présenté d’ailleurs lors de l’Open Data Day, pour lequel un particulier, professionnel du domaine a fourni les données qu’il avait sur l’éducation dans une commune donnée. IMG_20160305_163123 On retient, avec satisfaction que dans la vague mondiale de célébration de l’Open Data Day 2016 (257 évènements dans le monde!), ce samedi 5 mars, le Burkina Faso s’est fait compter. Article écrit par Justin Yarga