New Masterclass: Introduction to Data-driven Design (For Professionals, Researchers, and Lecturers)

In cooperation with my colleague Erik Hekman (Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht) we designed a new series of masterclasses on the fundamentals of data-driven design that aims at professionals, researchers, and lecturers in the media, communication, and creative business areas. The sessions are scheduled for April 2020 and will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The course prepares you for the unique position as an intermediary between academic knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge. You will build up solid expertise for designing user-centered, data-driven solutions as a facilitator between the digital and human domains. Moreover, it teaches you to be aware of the circumstances in which you need to perform your job.

The main perspective in this series of masterclasses is to link academic thinking to practical performance. Aside from critically discussing the fundamental transformations that shape the digital society, as well as its implications for social and economic interaction, you will learn the practical fundamentals of data science. This includes programming skills in Python to load, save, collect, scrape, process, clean, transform, analyze and visualize data. At the end of the course, you will know how to critically examine the opportunities and the limitations of data, code and basic algorithms from a critical, user-focused perspective.

Every masterclass consists of two parts:

  • Theory where you learn and critically discuss transformations in digital society. This part will be conducted in English.
  • Practical skills where you collect, store, clean, transform data from social media and other internet sources with Python programming (including locating sources of open data), and you know how to extend your skills set by independently learning how to gather data from sources or in ways that were not covered during the masterclasses. The projects can be developed in English or Dutch (or German).

Find more information here on the Masterclass Introduction to Data-Driven Design.

Who Owns Your Data? A Critical Debate with Experts from Governance, Research, Law & Business

This week I had the pleasure of hosting another highly urgent, relevant and insightful debate on the digital transformation of modern society. In collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in Den Haag, we met with practitioners for academia, governance, the legal sector and business and discussed how the concept of data ownerships constantly changes and raises critical ethical questions.

Some of the key points that we distilled were:

  • Data sharing needs a new open-source and open-science inspired approach
  • Data sharing models need to beware of social, political and cultural filters that may delimit diversity of stakeholders
  • Data collection and analysis need to have quality and validation checkpoints throughout the process
  • AI already shapes many people’s lives even thought why are not aware of it
  • AI raises critical questions about reproducibility of results and liability for outcome
  • Blockchain is a tech still in its infancy but use cases go way beyond cryptocurrency
  • Blockchain and similar decentralisation technology create transparency but are not a secure or private per se
  • Blockchain is a technology that only makes sense when combined with other systems and does not solve problems when isolated
  • Overall, human oversight and intervention is paramount for ensuring technology is used in the most beneficial way – this ask for diverse strategic coalitions that unite differentiations stakeholders