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Shana Nelson Middler ‘89 graciously hosted us for our annual Smith College Faculty event. This year’s special guest was Brent Durbin, associate professor of Government, who came to share his research on how the 21st-century big data revolution is affecting politics and social change.
The discussion delved into the importance of understanding that data is created, not found, through subjective people who are looking to answer specific questions. Brent shared the challenges with data gathering methods that are being implemented faster than polices can be implemented to contain them, for example, the growing data gathering from facial recognition or purchasing behavior. The talk concluded with a conversation on the importance of people in tech not falling prey to the “I’m only an engineer” mentality and instead challenging the gathering and use of data to ensure it “does no harm”. We left the evening with the reminder that: “Technology is only a magnifier of human intent and capacity. It is not a substitute.” -@kentarotoyama
The Smith College Club of the Peninsula
We are a group of Smith alumnae of all ages and professions who continue to get excited about Smith and meeting other Smith alumnae.