I just turned in my book manuscript, The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health to the publisher this week. It will come out in mid-2020, if all goes well.
Meanwhile, here’s something I’ve been playing with: questions to ask if you’re in a global health meeting and confronting a slide presentation with indicators, targets and models.
Last week, the Bernstein Institute at New York University held a powerful meeting of activists and thinkers about data, algorithms and resistance. We met in the classically elegant Vanderbilt Hall, under the watchful gaze of the portraits of past NYU presidents, but the emphasis was squarely on activism: how communities can resist top-down algorithmic control, and reclaim a space for democratic decision-making.
Some speakers had reports that were starkly Orwellian. Big Brother is here already, but in many countries, he’s specifically just watching people of color, trans and queer people, migrants and poor people – through predictive policing and other algorithmic forms of control and domination. For some affected communities, democratizing data is already a matter of survival.
I’m really looking forward to this one: Democratizing Data: Grassroots strategies to advance human rights will meet at New York University School of Law on April 17-18, 2019. Registration is free and open to the public.
It’s a promising motley convening of activists, scholars, scientists and lawyers. I’ll be joining the 3pm panel on April 17, “Can we democratize data?” As the organizers write, “Despite datafication’s dark side, a movement is brewing at the grassroots. When data is demystified, deconstructed, and placed in the hands of affected communities it can be used to empower and fight injustice. Exerting control over processes of definition, computation, and machine learning, communities are turning the data gaze on those in power.”
I’m reliably told that facial recognition software will not used at the event 😉 Join us!
A recent letter to the Lancet argues that mathematical modelling on cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis control efforts fail to account for real-world challenges: “Political determinants such as … political disruptions, migration, poverty…which are at the root of existing tuberculosis and emerging anti-tuberculosis drug resistance in the world.”