Who Really Benefits from Big Data?

By Daniel Sarewitz, Slate Magazine, Dec 27, 2012

This is the first in a series on big data and its impact on society from CSPO co-director Daniel Sarewitz. It also appears on As We Now Think, a site edited by the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University. ASU is a partner in Future Tense with Slate and the New America Foundation.

Advances in real-time data acquisition, processing, and display technologies means that it is possible to design a toll road that can continually change prices to control how many cars are on the road and how fast they are going. These “hot lanes“ have just been opened along a part of the Washington, D.C., Beltway, the 10-lane, traffic-infested artery that to normal humans is a metaphorical boundary between the real, outside-the-Beltway world and the weird, political one on the inside. For those of us who live around Washington and must drive on it, however, the Beltway is very concrete indeed, a daily flirtation with delay and frustration, homicidal instincts, and death itself.

For full text of this article, visit Slate Magazine at D.C. Beltway’s “hot lanes” demonstrate potential social inequalities of “big data.”.

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