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Articles on Big data

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Ancient military innovations – like the bit and bridle that enabled mounted horseback riding – changed the course of history. Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin/British Museum via WikimediaCommons

The horse bit and bridle kicked off ancient empires – a new giant dataset tracks the societal factors that drove military technology

Did ancient technological advancements drive social innovation, or vice versa? Studying cause and effect in the ancient world may seem like a fool’s errand, but researchers built a database to do just that.
People navigate cities in much the same way animals navigate their environments. Max Böhme/Unsplash

Cellphone data shows that people navigate by keeping their destinations in front of them – even when that’s not the most efficient route

As you’re walking through city streets on your way to work, school or appointments, you probably feel like you’re taking the most efficient route. Thanks to evolution, you’re probably not.
People produce mountains of data every day, but not all data is treated the same under the law. Orbon Alija/E+ via Getty Images

Data privacy laws in the US protect profit but prevent sharing data for public good – people want the opposite

Profit-friendly data privacy laws in the U.S. are out of step with public sentiment and hinder uses the public supports, from reducing opioid overdose deaths to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.
A complete human genome, seen here in pairs of chromosomes, offers a wealth of information, but it is hard connect genetics to traits or disease. HYanWong/Wikimedia Comons

Scientists are on a path to sequencing 1 million human genomes and use big data to unlock genetic secrets

The first full human genome was sequenced 20 years ago. Now, a project is underway to sequence 1 million genomes to better understand the complex relationship between genetics, diversity and disease.
Today, artificial intelligence is deeply imbedded in the systems we use to make decisions. However, the assumptions on which they’re built are often completely hidden to us. mikemacmarketing

Artificial intelligence and algorithmic irresponsibility: the devil in the machine?

While AI is intended to help us, it tempts us to abandon judgment and moral responsibility. And without a proper understanding of how it works, we cannot circumvent its negative effects.
On October 22, the French junior minister for digital transition and electronic communication, Cedric O, and the French prime minister, Jean Castex (rear) announcing the changeover of several departments to ‘maximum alert’, new curfew measures, and the new app ‘Tous Anti Covid’. Ludovic Marin/AFP

Digital privacy and Covid-19: between a paradox and a hard place

In the current pandemic, finding the right balance between the protection of public health and respecting civil liberties has proven to be supremely difficult.

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