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TitleAuthorCover PhotoCategorySynopsisPersonal Notes
The People vs Tech
Jamie Bartlett
DigitalEthics
The internet was meant to set us free. Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.
Utopia For Realists
Rutger Bregman
Social GoodEconomics
We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn't be this way. Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.
Analytic Activism
David Karpf
CampaigningDigital
he first major study of how activist/advocacy organizations use digital tools for listening, monitoring, and strategy The first academic book to explore the inner workings of major organizations like Change.org and Upworthy.com Challenges two dominant trends in the literature: (1) the focus on/derision of "clicktivism," and (2) celebration of "spontaneous" or "viral" social movements that ignores the organizational work happening behind the scenes Discusses the "Media Theory of Movement Power," an argument for why we have to take the 1960s social movement tactics down from their pedestal Share:
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Caroline Criado Perez
EthicsSocial Good
Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.
Hello World
Hannah Fry
DigitalEthics
You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm? An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgement. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence. Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want? Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.
The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus
Hannah Fry
Christmas Maths!
How do you apply game theory to select who should be on your Christmas shopping list ? Can you predict Her Majesty's Christmas Message? Will calculations show Santa is getting steadily thinner - shimmying up and down chimneys for a whole night - or fatter - as he tucks into a mince pie and a glass of sherry in billions of houses across the world? Full of diagrams, sketches and graphs, beautiful equations, Markov chains and matrices, The Indisputable Existence of Santa Exists brightens up the bleak midwinter with stockingfuls of mathematical marvels. And proves once and for all that maths isn't just for old men with white hair and beards who associate with elves.
Very Niche, but if you love maths and christmas, this is the book for you!
A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics
Daniel Levitin
Data
AI Superpower
Kai-Fu Lee
DataAI
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism
Safiya Noble
AImachine learningEthics
Automating Inequality
Virginia Eubanks
Ethicsautomation
Big Data
Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger
Big Mind
Geoff Mulgan
Black Box Society
Frank Pasquale
C
Tom McCarthy
Computer Power and Human Reason
Joseph Weizenbaum
Examines the sources of the computer's powers and offers evaluative explorations of what computers can do, cannot do, and should not be employed to do.
Ctrl Alt Delete
Tom Baldwin
Democracy Hacked
Martin Moore
democracy
Digital Transformation at Scale
Public Digital
Factfulness
Hans Rosling
Future Politics
Jamie Susskind
democracy
Future Shock
Alvin Toffler
Group Privacy
Taylor, Linnet; Floridi, Luciano; van der Sloot, Bart (eds)
Here Comes Everybody
Clay Shirky
Clay Shirky's international bestseller Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens When People Come Together explores how the unifying power of the internet is changing the character of human society.
Homo Deus
Yuval Noah Harrari
Human Compatible
Stewart Russell
AI and threats to humanity
Infonomics
Doug Laney
nfonomics is the theory, study, and discipline of asserting economic significance to information. It strives to apply both economic and asset management principles and practices to the valuation, handling, and deployment of information assets.
Invisible Women
Caroline Criado-Perez
Ethics
From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences.
Life 3.0
Max Tegmark
In this deeply researched and vitally important new book, Tegmark takes us to the heart of thinking about AI and the human condition, bringing us face to face with the essential questions of our time. What sort of future do we want?
Made By Humans
Ellen Broad
AI
AI can be all too human: quick to judge, capable of error, vulnerable to bias. It's made by humans after all. Humans design the systems and tools that make new forms of AI faster. Humans are the data sources that make AI smarter. Humans will make decisions about how to use AI. The laws and standards, the tools, the ethics. Who benefits. Who gets hurt.
Measure What Matters
John Doerr
statistics
Moneyball
Michael Lewis
statisticsstrategy
Moneyball for Government
Various
statisticsstrategy
Picnic Comma Lightning
Laurence Scott
Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World
James Ball
Smart Citizens, Smarter State
Beth Simone-Noveck
Sorting Things Out
Geoffrey Bowker
A revealing and surprising look at how classification systems can shape both worldviews and social interactions.
Stand Out of Our Light
James Williams
Former Google advertising strategist, now Oxford-trained philosopher James Williams launches a plea to society and to the tech industry to help ensure that the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life.
Surveillance Capitalism
Shushana Zuboff
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a deeply-reasoned examination of the threat of unprecedented power free from democratic oversight. As it explores this new capitalism's impact on society, politics, business, and technology, it exposes the struggles that will decide both the next chapter of capitalism and the meaning of information civilization.
The AI Does Not Hate You
Tom Chivers
AI
This is a book about AI and AI risk. But it's also more importantly about a community of people who are trying to think rationally about intelligence, and the places that these thoughts are taking them, and what insight they can and can't give us about the future of the human race over the next few years
The Art of Statistics
David Spiegelhalter
statistics
In The Art of Statistics, David Spiegelhalter guides the reader through the essential principles we need in order to derive knowledge from data. Drawing on real world problems to introduce conceptual issues, he shows us how statistics can help us determine the luckiest passenger on the Titanic, whether serial killer Harold Shipman could have been caught earlier, and if screening for ovarian cancer is beneficial.
The Four Dimensional Human: ways of being in the digital world
Laurence Scott
We spend more time than ever online, and the digital revolution is rewiring our sense of what it means to be human. Smartphones let us live in one another's pockets, while websites advertise our spare rooms all across the world. Never before have we been so connected. Increasingly we are coaxed from the three-dimensional world around us and into the wonders of a fourth dimension, a world of digitised experiences in which we can project our idealised selves.
The Fourth Revolution
Luciano Floridi
The Fourth Revolution brings the crisis into full view and points towards our future. The authors have enjoyed extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, and the book is a global tour of the innovators. The front lines are in Chinese-oriented Asia, where experiments in state-directed capitalism and authoritarian modernization have ushered in an astonishing period of development. Other emerging nations are producing striking new ideas, from Brazil's conditional cash-transfer welfare system to India's application of mass-production techniques in hospitals. These governments have not by any means got everything right, but they have embraced the spirit of active reform and reinvention which in the past has provided so much of the West's comparative advantage.
The Hidden Half
Michael Blastland
Why does one smoker die of lung cancer but another live to 100? The answer is 'The Hidden Half' - those random, unknowable variables that mess up our attempts to comprehend the world. We humans are very clever creatures - but we're idiots about how clever we really are. In this entertaining and ingenious book, Blastland reveals how in our quest to make the world more understandable, we lose sight of how unexplainable it often is. The result - from GDP figures to medicine - is that experts know a lot less than they think. Filled with compelling stories from economics, genetics, business, and science, The Hidden Half is a warning that an explanation which works in one arena may not work in another. Entertaining and provocative, it will change how you view the world.
The Information
James Gleick
Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2012, the world's leading prize for popular science writing. We live in the information age. But every era of history has had its own information revolution: the invention of writing, the composition of dictionaries, the creation of the charts that made navigation possible, the discovery of the electronic signal, the cracking of the genetic code. In ‘The Information’ James Gleick tells the story of how human beings use, transmit and keep what they know. From African talking drums to Wikipedia, from Morse code to the ‘bit’, it is a fascinating account of the modern age’s defining idea and a brilliant exploration of how information has revolutionised our lives.
The Master Algorithm
Pedro Domingos
machine learning
In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos reveals how machine learning is remaking business, politics, science and war. And he takes us on an awe-inspiring quest to find 'The Master Algorithm' - a universal learner capable of deriving all knowledge from data.
The Metric Society
Steffen Mau
analyticsEthics
In today’s world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score and health status, everything and everybody is measured and evaluated. In this important new book, Steffen Mau offers a critical analysis of this increasingly pervasive phenomenon
The New Dark Age
James Bridle
analyticsEthicsdemocracy
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.
The Number Bias
Sanne Blauw
The Number Bias combines vivid storytelling with authoritative analysis to deliver a warning about the way numbers can lead us astray - if we let them.'
The Open Revolution
Rufus Pollock
Will the digital revolution give us digital dictatorships or digital democracies? Forget everything you think you know about the digital age. It’s not about privacy, surveillance, AI or blockchain—it’s about ownership. Because, in a digital age, who owns information controls the future. Today, information is everywhere. From your DNA to the latest blockbusters, from lifesaving drugs to the app on your phone, from big data to algorithms.
The Politics of Freedom of Information
Ben Worthy
government
Why do governments pass freedom of information laws? The symbolic power and force surrounding FOI makes it appealing as an electoral promise but hard to disengage from once in power. However, behind closed doors compromises and manoeuvres ensure that bold policies are seriously weakened before they reach the statute book.
The Signal and the Noise
Nate Silver
From the financial crisis to ecological disasters, we routinely fail to foresee hugely significant events, often at great cost to society. The rise of 'big data' has the potential to help us predict the future, yet much of it is misleading and useless. Nate Silver accurately predicted the results of every state in the 2012 US election, cementing his reputation as one of our most prophetic forecasters.
The Tiger That Isn't
Andrew Dilnot
Mathematics scares and depresses most of us, but politicians, journalists and everyone in power use numbers all the time to bamboozle us. Most maths is really simple - as easy as 2+2 in fact. Better still it can be understood without any jargon, any formulas - and in fact not even many numbers. Most of it is commonsense, and by using a few really simple principles one can quickly see when maths, statistics and numbers are being abused to play tricks - or create policies - which can waste millions of pounds. It is liberating to understand when numbers are telling the truth or being used to lie, whether it is health scares, the costs of government policies, the supposed risks of certain activities or the real burden of taxes.
The Tyranny of Metrics
Jerry Muller
How the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens business, medicine, education, government―and the quality of our lives
The Utopia of Rules
David Graeber
democracygovernment
From the author of the international bestseller Debt: The First 5,000 Years comes an engaging, revelatory account of the way bureaucracy rules our lives. Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations and bureaucracy come from? How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence? To answer these questions, the anthropologist David Graeber - one of our most important and provocative thinkers - traces the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today, and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice… though he also suggests that there may be something perversely appealing - even romantic - about bureaucracy.
The Victory Lab
Sasha Issenberg
democracygovernmentanalyticsCampaigning
Moneyball for politics” shows how cutting-edge social science and analytics are reshaping the modern political campaign.
To Be a Machine
Mark O'Connell
A stunning new non-fiction voice tackles an urgent question... what next for mankind?
Weapons of Math Destruction
Cathy O'Neill
machine learningdemocracy
In this New York Times bestseller, Cathy O'Neil, one of the first champions of algorithmic accountability, sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life -- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.
Why Information Grows
Cesar Hidalgo
Economics
What is economic growth? And why, historically, has it occurred in only a few places? Previous efforts to answer these questions have focused on institutions, geography, finances, and psychology. But MIT professor César Hidalgo argues that in order to fully grasp the nature of economic growth we need to transcend the social sciences and turn to the science of information, networks and complexity. The growth of economies, he explains, is deeply connected with the growth of order - or information.
Metrics
Vincanne Adams (ed)
statistics
This volume's contributors evaluate the accomplishments, limits, and consequences of using quantitative metrics in global health. Whether analyzing maternal mortality rates, the relationships between political goals and metrics data, or the links between health outcomes and a program's fiscal support, the contributors question the ability of metrics to solve global health problems.
The Uncounted
Alex Cobham
statisticsEthics
What we count matters - and in a world where policies and decisions are underpinned by numbers, statistics and data, if you’re not counted, you don’t count. Alex Cobham argues that systematic gaps in economic and demographic data not only lead us to understate a wide range of damaging inequalities, but also to actively exacerbate them
Geek Heresy
Kentaro Toyama
In this incisive book, Toyama cures us of the manic rhetoric of digital utopians and reinvigorates us with a deeply people-centric view of social change. Contrasting the outlandish claims of tech zealots with stories of people like Patrick Awuah, a Microsoft millionaire who left his engineering job to open Ghana's first liberal arts university, and Tara Sreenivasa, a graduate of a remarkable South Indian school that takes impoverished children into the high-tech offices of Goldman Sachs and Mercedes-Benz, Geek Heresy is a heartwarming reminder that it's human wisdom, not machines, that move our world forward.
Poor Numbers
Morten Jerven
One of the most urgent challenges in African economic development is to devise a strategy for improving statistical capacity. Reliable statistics, including estimates of economic growth rates and per-capita income, are basic to the operation of governments in developing countries and vital to nongovernmental organizations and other entities that provide financial aid to them. Rich countries and international financial institutions such as the World Bank allocate their development resources on the basis of such data. The paucity of accurate statistics is not merely a technical problem; it has a massive impact on the welfare of citizens in developing countries. Where do these statistics originate? How accurate are they? Poor Numbers is the first analysis of the production and use of African economic development statistics. Morten Jerven's research shows how the statistical capacities of sub-Saharan African economies have fallen into disarray. The numbers substantially misstate the actual state of affairs. As a result, scarce resources are misapplied
Raw Data is an Oxymoron
Lisa Gitelman (ed)
We live in the era of Big Data, with storage and transmission capacity measured not just in terabytes but in petabytes (where peta- denotes a quadrillion, or a thousand trillion). Data collection is constant and even insidious, with every click and every “like” stored somewhere for something. This book reminds us that data is anything but “raw,” that we shouldn't think of data as a natural resource but as a cultural one that needs to be generated, protected, and interpreted.
Big Data in Education
Ben Williamson
Big data has the power to transform education and educational research. Governments, researchers and commercial companies are only beginning to understand the potential that big data offers in informing policy ideas, contributing to the development of new educational tools and innovative ways of conducting research. This cutting-edge overview explores the current state-of-play, looking at big data and the related topic of computer code to examine the implications for education and schooling for today and the near future.
Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good
Julia Lane, Victoria Stodden, Stefan Bender, Helen Nissenbaum (ed)
Massive amounts of data on human beings can now be analyzed. Pragmatic purposes abound, including selling goods and services, winning political campaigns, and identifying possible terrorists. Yet 'big data' can also be harnessed to serve the public good: scientists can use big data to do research that improves the lives of human beings, improves government services, and reduces taxpayer costs. In order to achieve this goal, researchers must have access to this data - raising important privacy questions. What are the ethical and legal requirements? What are the rules of engagement?
The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences
Timandra Harkness
In contrast to the hype and hubris of much media and business coverage, The Data Revolution provides a synoptic and critical analysis of the emerging data landscape. Accessible in style, the book provides: A synoptic overview of big data, open data and data infrastructures An introduction to thinking conceptually about data, data infrastructures, data analytics and data markets Acritical discussion of the technical shortcomings and the social, political and ethical consequences of the data revolution
Big Data: Does Size Matter?
Rob Kitchin
Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programmes she makes are on the radio. If you can read a newspaper you can read this book. Starting with the basics - what IS data? And what makes it big? - Timandra takes you on a whirlwind tour of how people are using big data today: from science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things. Finally, she asks the big questions about where it's taking us; is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? Will this book be full of rhetorical questions? No. It also contains puns, asides, unlikely stories and engaging people, inspiring feats and thought-provoking dilemmas. Leaving you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade's big ideas: big data.