Pika Šarf

Since the public sector generates a large amount of data, an important prerequisite to bridging the existing data divide is the availability of open data, i.e. (governmental) data that anybody can access, use, and share. However, as the trend towards the paradigm of “open data” gains traction, it becomes necessary to ask how much emancipatory potential this paradigm actually carries. It is not enough that the data is only available; it also needs to be meaningfully organised and presented in order to encourage citizen participation. In this process of extracting meaning for various social ends, infomediaries, i.e. third parties that analyse and visualise open data made available by the government, are becoming more important than individuals who usually have neither the knowledge nor the capabilities to transform the “raw” data into understandable and socially meaningful actionable information that produces knowledge. Mayer-Schönberger and Zappia (2011) illustratively ask whether we “will see the rise of a new caste of intermediaries that hold the key to making sense of the seas of data now accessible”. Infomediaries are gaining power over the data and the way in which they visualise, map, and present it to citizens may shape the way they perceive it. The question then is how much power “the new caste” absorbs and whether the new Citizen Data Scientist Tools can democratise surveillance capitalism.

Dates: 
19 Oct to 18 Nov 2019, -
Methods: 
Exploring / Experimenting
City: 
Paris

Participant
: PIKA ŠARF