On May 18th, 2012, Brown University’s Day of Data captured stories from across disciplines and sectors to state “data matters.” Data is core to every field, career and life decision, and we must embrace this data-driven society with new and non-traditional approaches to address a convergence of complex societal challenges. However, data is not the solution.
Day of Data stories were not tales of advanced technologies or computational models. They were tales of data from diverse human experiences, perspectives and expertise of inequality, censorship, lost collections, devastating childhood diseases, privacy and policy. A day rich in human connectivity, it allowed individuals access to and awareness of diverse data resources; and, more importantly, it engaged them in a culture of data that included data generators, toolmakers, researchers, educators and old and new friends.
The Day of Data was the first step in Brown University’s Digital Society Initiative’s approach to reengage faculty in the data culture -- to inform, prepare and enable them to address societal, technical and research challenges together. Over the past decade, society has engaged in a technology transformation, from the publically used smart phone applications to research-driven imaging or genetic infrastructure. However, technologies are limited when it comes to solving challenges requiring multidisciplinary approaches, but the human imagination is not.
How do we build meaningful connections that result in stories of impact, innovation, discovery and collaboration? How do we tackle our challenging and immediate societal needs? How do we accelerate solutions and build a sustainable roadmap for society? How do we design the human-data relationship and redefine our individual roles in this digital society?
The Digital Society Initiative embarks upon its second year at Brown University, inviting individuals across sector and disciplines to engage in our collaborative eco-system through an integrated and interdisciplinary education and research platform. This platform hopes to 1) design “a new literacy” for educating current and next generation workforce, 2) dissolve barriers to solve “big data” technical and research challenges and 3) integrate diverse data resources to nurture collaboration and accelerate solutions. This platform promises to enable a digital society with skills, shared tools and partnerships to tackle a world of complexity and non-linearity with a culture that is data-enabled and prepared -- a culture where solutions are human-imagined.
View Day of Data video by launching EchoPlayer through these links: