Doug Specht, Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching, Learning and Quality Assurance, co-wrote an article with Monika Halkort from the Lebanese American University about the role of data in times of life and death, from the migrant crisis to COVID-19.

Doug Specht

In the article, they wrote: “In response to COVID-19, governments around the world have employed algorithms, used data from apps installed on our phones, alongside CCTV, facial recognition and other data gathering tools to fight the pandemic. Data is being used to drive the daily movements of billions of people in a way that many of us have never before seen. People are being instructed to stay home, go to work, wear masks, or send their children to school based on the invisible hand of data.”

They added: “Without doubt, we should be harnessing all the tools we can in the fight to save lives, but the pandemic has also brought many issues with data mapping to the fore. COVID-19 disproportionately affects the poorest people in many countries, as well as Black and Asian communities. 

“This is no small part due to data-driven regulations designed to stop the spread of the disease; often modelled on assumptions made by the people who design and run them.”

Read the full article on The Conversation’s website.

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