Truth Will Set You Free But Data Will Piss You Off
As data become more readily available, we are lulled into believing “the numbers don’t lie.” However, the human data collection methods and process, the various motives of the people involved, the political or social systems in place all define how data are presented and perceived. Can any presentation of data be truly objective in the first place? This session will explore the issues and ethics around data visualization--a subject of recent debate in the data visualization community (for example, see here: http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/07/should-you-trust-data-visualisations/ )--and suggest how we can use data in tandem with social responsibility.
Additional Supporting Materials
- As data becomes more readily available, we are lulled into believing “the numbers don’t lie.” The evidence can’t be denied and a fact is a fact is a fact...or is it? While there is certainly a difference between using data to intentionally steer viewers to a certain perspective and using it to present an objective argument, we wonder: Can any presentation of data be truly objective in the first place?
- How, if at all, can data analysis be objective?
- If data analysis cannot be objective, how can we maximize integrity in data visualization, especially for large institutions and organizations?
- Even in the absence of objectivity, how can we create data visualizations that allow audiences to make better-informed decisions?
- What types of biases are inherent in both the designer and the viewer? For example, how are the data collected? What are the motives of the different actors involved? What political or social systems are in place that define how the data are collected?
Jonathan Schwabish PolicViz
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