A couple weeks ago, I got to talk with the fellows and gathered friends of Data & Society about some of the work I've been doing on the metaphors we use to talk about data. It's an interest that came out of my thesis research on how the Quantified Self community was talking about their relationship to their personal data, and continues in a piece I wrote for DIS Magazine's Data Issue this year.
Here's the video on YouTube. Stay for the discussion with the audience in the second half (but just listen to the audio!). We ended up focusing on how it's not just data that we need metaphors for, but also the processes and systems that use and make sense of the data. We have just as much, if not more, trouble grasping the concept of algorithms and how they work.
Huge thanks to Tim Hwang for inviting me to come down to New York and to Data & Society for providing the space and minds for a great conversation. I'm hoping that this work will continue to shape the public discourse we're using to talk about data issues going forward, especially as those framings shape policy and law, and more importantly, the way we all think about our stakes in our data.