Data revolution and democracy: a problematic relationship
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One of the macroscopic phenomena of the Digital revolution is the explosion of data, the annual production of which broke through the zettabyte barrier after 2010. Since then, authoritative scholars – and even international organizations such as the UN – have started talking about the Data Revolution. The aim of this essay is to show that the term «Data Revolution» actually means two different things: a (objective) process and an (ideological) project. The former is the result of the convergence of multiple aspects of the Digital revolution, the latter represents a new way of conceiving knowledge and using it for decision-making processes, i.e. for any form of «governance of reality». It focuses on the data-driven approach, which is applied to both science and society as a whole through social physics. After explaining the assumptions and goals of data-driven science and data-driven society, the article concludes by showing the dark side of the Data revolution (as a project) and the challenge it poses to democratic institutions.
- big data
- Artificial intelligence
- data-driven science
- data-driven society