Data Interoperability, Kaggle Connect and Big Data Illusions #DataDigest

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In this week's data digest, the unintended negative side effects of big data is discussed. Kaggle Connect was launched exclusive to some of the world's best data scientists. Vancover provides a great example of open data having tangible benefit while some lessons learnt are given for those looking to encourage and develop the use of open data in their country. Struggling with the problem of data interoperability? Well you'd be pleased to know that a competition has been announced in the hope of finding some solutions. Take part if you can!

Big Data
Untangling algorithmic illusions from reality in big data
In her Strata Conference presentation, Kate Crawford, principal researcher at Microsoft speaks to big data’s limits and explores the moral issues around social justice and privacy that arise with its use. She also explains that governments and NGOs must play a role in ensuring that visibility isn't biased in a way that increases social inequity for example with law enforcement. She says that small data, which comes from communities is important to provide the context needed to maximise the use of big data.

Data Solutions
Introducing Kaggle Connect: Data Science Consulting via Kaggle
Kaggle Connect a platform that connects companies to the Kaggle community and solicits some of the world’s most challenging data science problems has recently been launched. Kaggle is the world's largest community of data scientists. The latter compete with each other to solve complex data science problems. Kaggle Connect membership is for the top data scientists from the wider Kaggle community and is by invite-only. To become a member of Connect, a data scientist must show consistently high performance across multiple competitions, and excellent performance in a particular area of expertise.

Data Competitions
Increasing Interoperability of Social Good Data
To support the interoperability of datasets being used for social good, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Liquidnet for Good has launched a competition to generate new and innovative approaches which can increase the interoperability of data that comes from multiple stakeholders. It is hoped that solutions offered would help the average donor, impact investor, nonprofit/social enterprise leader, or social entrepreneur to maximise data use for social benefit.  Applications will be accepted till 7th May 2013.

Open Data
Lessons from KODI: Completing the Job
In this post Al Kags, CEO Goode Africa, reflects on lessons learnt from Kenya’s open data initiative. He discusses the process of gathering and collating data and the need for open data champions. He also outlines requirements for building the portal and the policy frameworks that must be developed for sustainability. He says there must be more initiatives that can help bring data to average citizens in a way that relates to them. He also advocates the development of a standardised checklist or toolkit that can be used when pursuing an Open Data Initiative.

How Open Data Is Changing The Way Vancouver Shelters Its Homeless
In this post David Eaves explains how Vancouver city council’s mandating the creation of an online, searchable database of rental apartments in Vancouver led the Province of British Columbia to announce it would spend $1 million to address health and safety violations in buildings they own in the city. The data showed that those most at risk of being homeless can expect to be in buildings with the most violations. It also found that data insights could possibly have the knock-on effect of decreasing costs for the Vancouver's Fire-Rescue Services. In addition, opening up data is helping to change the way the city thinks about the problem of inspections and infractions for the better as well as increasing community engagement and the development of useful apps.


Image - Link to YouTube Video - Strata 2013: Kate Crawford, "Algorithmic Illusions: Hidden Biases of Big Data"