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Big Data Teaching

Big Data Teaching Bias?

I’ve recently been looking at some learning resources to do with the likes of ‘big data’ and ‘machine learning’. Call me negative; well you can as my LFTs have so far all been negative ;-), but I am surprised by the resources that seem to walk obviously into the narrative of how amazing all this technology is without considering its potential pitfalls.

Don’t get me wrong, home assistants have their merits, but what about privacy issues and the question of manipulation? There are ample discussions for balanced debates in the classroom that offer differing perspectives. For example is it that ‘recommendation engines’ work to satisfy our needs, or in the long-term do they manipulate us by changing what we desire? Is it that shopping web sites truly want to satisfy our needs or manipulate us into spending money? ‘Fashion’ has always been a great driver of consumerism, does technology make it any worse? If you know everything about someone, is it possible to use this information to change their behaviour?

As more schools start to touch upon the subjects of AI, Machine learning and ‘big data’, I hope that amongst all the exciting potential for technology that a conversation is had about its potential impact.