How can we maximize the positive aspects of the data revolution for social change while managing its potential downsides? This was the main theme of the panel, Digital Equity and Rights in the Age of Big Data at this year’s annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. Benetech CEO, Jim Fruchterman, joined Skoll Global Threats Fund’s Larry Brilliant, the Economist’s Kenneth Cukier, UN Global Pulse’s Miguel Luengo-Oroz, and moderator Emily Kasriel of BBC Global News’ and Oxford’s Said Business School for a dynamic discussion yesterday.
Reporting from Oxford, England, where the Skoll World Forum is underway, a Reuters article quotes CEO Jim Fruchterman’s discussion during a Forum’s session that focused on the promise and peril of big data. “As non-governmental organizations and social enterprises gather data on the communities and people they help,” she cites Jim, “they need to be keenly aware that ‘we should treat other people’s data the way we want our data treated.”
In Reuters, Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman advocates for a human-centered approach to data in the social sector. This article was published ahead of the 2014 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, where Jim will be discussing the impacts of “datafication”— the notion that aspects of the world can be rendered into a data format and put to social or policy use. “Even in a world of big data,” he concludes, “creativity and intuition still require the human touch.”