Human-Centered Data Science: New book explores the biases that can creep into data

Gina Neff, Professor of Technology and Society at the Oxford Internet Institute and fellow at Christ Church, has published Human-Centered Data Science: An Introduction, with MIT Press.

Human-Centered Data Science: An Introduction explores best practices for addressing the bias and inequality that may result from the automated collection, analysis, and distribution of large datasets.

Professor Gina NeffProfessor Neff, who has also recently taken on an additional new role of running the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy at Cambridge, studies innovation, the digital transformation of industries, and how new technologies impact work.

In Human-Centred Data Science, Professor Neff and her co-authors explain how data scientists' choices are involved at every stage of the data science workflow—and show how a human-centred approach can enhance each one, by making the process more transparent, asking questions, and considering the social context of the data.

Book cover: Human-Centred Data ScienceThey describe how tools from social science might be incorporated into data science practices, discuss different types of collaboration, and consider data storytelling through visualization. The book shows that data science practitioners can build rigorous and ethical algorithms and design projects that use cutting-edge computational tools and address social concerns.

In addition, Professor Neff launched a report on International Women’s Day this year with UNESCO, the OECD, and the InterAmerica Development Bank on how AI is changing the working lives of women.

The report warns that governments, the private sector, and other actors must make a conscious effort to ensure women are not left behind in the digital economy and sheds light on possible steps to make that possible.

It reveals the troubling gaps in women’s access to digital skills and jobs and how governments, companies, and societies, in general, should work to close these gaps. 

Also in March this year, Professor Neff participated on a panel at the global tech conference South by Southwest with Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karaman, a member of The Facebook Oversight Board, about creating an international response to misinformation.