Instead of seeing criticisms of AI as a threat to innovation, can we see them as a strength?

At CogX, the Festival of AI and Emergent Technology, two icons appeared over and over across the King’s Cross location. The first was the logo for the festival itself, an icon of a brain with lobes made up of wires. The second was for the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a partner of the festival. The SDG icon is a circle split into 17 differently colored segments, each representing one of the goals for 2030—aims like zero hunger and no poverty. The idea behind this partnership was to encourage participants of CogX—speakers, presenters, expo attendees—to think about how their products and innovations could be used to help achieve these SDGs.

2018 Concept Grant winners: An interview with MiniVan

Following the launch of the SAGE Ocean initiative in February 2018, the inaugural winners of the SAGE Concept Grant program were announced in March of the same year. As we build up to this year’s winner announcement we’ve caught up with the three winners from 2018 to see what they’ve been up to and how the seed funding has helped in the development of their tools.

In this post we chatted to MiniVan, a project of the Public Data Lab.

Social media data in research: a review of the current landscape

Social media has brought about rapid change in society, from our social interactions and complaint systems to our elections and media outlets. It is increasingly used by individuals and organizations in both the public and private sectors. Over 30% of the world’s population is on social media. We spend most of our waking hours attached to our devices, with every minute in the US, 2.1M snaps are created and 1M people are logging in to Facebook. With all this use, comes a great amount of data.

SAGE Campus announces two new courses

SAGE Campus are pleased to announce that we are launching two new courses to our suite of online data science courses for social scientists. The new short courses, Research Design in Social Data Science and Collecting Social Media Data, are aimed at those studying, teaching or working in social science disciplines who are looking to take their first steps toward working with big-data driven approaches to social science research.

2018 Concept Grant winners: An interview with Ken Benoit from Quanteda

We catch up with Ken Benoit, who developed Quanteda, a large R package originally designed for the quantitative analysis of textual data, from which the name is derived. In 2018, Quanteda received $35,000 of seed funding as inaugural winners of the SAGE Concept Grants program. We find out what challenges Ken faced and how the funding helped in the development of the package.

2018 SAGE Concept Grant winners: An interview with the Digital DNA Toolbox team

Following the launch of the SAGE Ocean initiative in February 2018, the inaugural winners of the SAGE Concept Grant program were announced in March of the same year. As we build up to this year’s winner announcement we’ve caught up with the three winners from 2018 to see what they’ve been up to and how the seed funding has helped in the development of their tools.

In this post, we spoke with the Digital DNA Toolbox (DDNA) winners, Stefano Cresci and Maurizio Tesconi about their initial idea, the challengers they faced along the way and the future of tools for social science research.

How researchers around the world are making use of Weibo data

Zoufan posted her last words on Weibo on 18, March, 2012. She was suffering from a major depressive disorder, and shortly after - committed suicide. Weibo is a microblogging application, launched by Sina Corporation back in 2009, based on user relationships to share, disseminate and get information. In essence, it is similar to Twitter, although it has a number of other useful capabilities. The app has more than 400 million users (compared to Twitter’s 300 million) and features that enable the study of emotional states and responses to the topics being discussed or spread across the web.

Researchers are awarded grants to study Facebook data and its influence on elections

Last year saw the launch of Social Science One—a model devised to allow academic researchers access to the huge amounts of data generated by private industry, including Facebook data which will constitute the inaugural project. This week the first grants have been announced in partnership with the Social Science Research Council. Twelve projects have been awarded grants, as over 60 researchers come together from 11 countries and 30 academic institutions to study social media’s impact upon our society and democratic systems.

Three exciting possibilities for combining data science and social science

As the leader of a data science team at the Urban Institute, I get to work on interesting issues that intersect data science and social science every day. By data science, I mean technical tools, architectures, and processes that are borrowed from computer science and are atypical in the social sciences. This is a slightly more limited definition than most would have for the term data science, but because so much of what defines a data scientist at Urban also defines a researcher — cleaning data, analyzing it, visualizing results, etc. — my definition draws a finer line.

Collecting social media data for research

Human social behavior has rapidly shifted to digital media services, whether Gmail for email, Skype for phone calls, Twitter and Facebook for micro-blogging, or WhatsApp and SMS for private messaging.  This digitalization of social life offers researchers an unprecedented world of data with which to study human life and social systems. However, accessing this data has become increasingly difficult.

An interview with the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, winners of the NYU Coleridge Initiative's Rich Context Competition

Earlier this year Allen AI were announced as the winners of the NYU Coleridge Initiative’s Rich Context Competition. The goal of the competition was to automate the discovery of research datasets and the associated research methods and fields of social science research publications. You can find out about all the finalists and their work here.

We caught up with Allen AI to talk about the work and their involvement in this year’s competition.

Matchmaking tools: Augmenting the relationship between research and industry

On a Friday evening in 1922, you could turn on the radio in Schenectady NY and hear Hermann Briggs talking about the latest research and discoveries around common disease and illnesses. Radio, and later TV, were the most exciting and widest reaching media platforms where research knowledge could be shared with the public.

Today, researchers have access to a whole host of media (podcasts, YouTube channels, Ted Talks, etc.) to talk about their research and how it can be fun or useful for the public.

Artificial intelligence for entity resolution with Jeff Jonas

Jeff Jonas, the world’s foremost expert on entity resolution and the inventor of the original NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness) technology developed for Las Vegas casinos, brings entity resolution to life. This unique technology (an IBM spin-out) is a purpose built real-time AI for delivering human quality entity resolution – determining “who is who” and “who is related to who” – without training, tuning or experts.

Watch the technology in action and see how it works.

Book review: Artificial unintelligence: How computers misunderstand the world by Meredith Broussard

This book will be of particular value to social scientists interested in the political, economic and social dynamics of AI and data-driven technology. It will also be of interest to investigative and data journalists seeking to leverage computational tools.