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Learning in the Algorithmic Age: Understanding the Links Between Behaviors and Outcomes

Not long ago, I wanted to consider how we could provide better tools for foresight, insight and action for individual people to use in their everyday life. The FICO score seems like a great case study. 

 

Data Exhaust and the Future of Peer Pressure

About a month ago, I received several negative comments through Twitter about a blog post on the idea that people are beginning to threaten themselves with embarrassment online as a strategy to improve health by, for example, installing a sensor enabled refrigerator that lets its owner's network know when he goes for a midnight snack. At the time, I wrote about the concept as an example of "smart pain," which is to say short-term, relatively harmless pain designed to help us achieve longer term goals.

Preparing for a More Contradictory Future

About a decade ago now, the British Medical Journal ran one of my favorite academic parodies - a review article that attempted to conduct a meta-analysis of whether or not wearing a parachute when jumping from a plane could help prevent injury or death. Finding no one had studied the subject, the authors concluded:

How Inequality Threatens the Promise of Big Data

This year, the health team’s research has focused on big data and the world of innovation that it will open up. But while emerging technology will give us much more comprehensive data than we’ve had in the past, it won’t be perfect. Inequality will probably create significant data blind-spots/gaps in the future, because it does in the present and it has in the past. 

Avoiding Short-Term Thinking In A World of Big Data

My latest piece for Fast Company's Co Exist site is up here - making the argument that the coming future of big data could erode our ability to think and focus on long-term futures. It begins with an old story about how metrics can mislead us:

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