Read! Rieder and Simon Datatrust

Rieder, G. and Simon, J. (2016). Datatrust: Or, the political quest for numerical evidence and the epistemologies of Big Data. Big Data & Society 3(1), pp. 1-6.
DOI: 10.1177/2053951716649398

This paper argues for an historical and socio-political understanding of  “Data-driven forms of governance”, seeking to expose how the epistemological claims of big data are linked to “specific forms of trust, truth and objectivity” (Abstract).

Presented as a rupture and revolution with not ties to the past, discussions about Big Data have focused on the modalities of change rather than forms of continuity

The authors unpick our burgeoning acceptance of Big Data by examining concepts of trust and truth as they shift over time.

An understanding of the epistemology of Big Data is necessary as its claims of objectivity and incontrovertible truth are promoted in a time in which fake news, a distrust of experts and narratives of human fallibility abound. Action legitimised by Big Data and predictive modelling operates in the realms of the “new” and the technological, lending it shine and invulnerability. Eschewing its past and operating in the now, it aims to forge a future wrought often by the prediction of threat.

truth, trust, context, nuance,
volume, velocity, variety

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