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Could Counterfactuals Explain Algorithmic Decisions Without Opening the Black Box?

Could Counterfactuals Explain Algorithmic Decisions Without Opening the Black Box?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has sparked much discussion about the “right to explanation” for the algorithm-supported decisions made about us in our everyday lives. While there’s an obvious need for transparency in the automated decisions that are increasingly being made in areas like policing, education, healthcare and recruitment, explaining how these complex […]

Digital platforms are governing systems — so it’s time we examined them in more detail

Digital platforms are not just software-based media, they are governing systems that control, interact, and accumulate. As surfaces on which social action takes place, digital platforms mediate — and to a considerable extent, dictate — economic relationships and social action. By automating market exchanges they solidify relationships into material infrastructure, lend a degree of immutability […]

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Could data pay for global development? Introducing data financing for global good

“If data is the new oil, then why aren’t we taxing it like we tax oil?” That was the essence of the provocative brief that set in motion our recent 6-month research project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The results are detailed in the new report: Data Financing for Global Good: A Feasibility Study. The parallels […]

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The blockchain paradox: Why distributed ledger technologies may do little to transform the economy

Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain, is widely expected to find applications far beyond digital payments. It is celebrated as a “paradigm shift in the very idea of economic organization”. But the OII’s Professor Vili Lehdonvirta contends that such revolutionary potentials may be undermined by a fundamental paradox that has to do with the governance of […]

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New Voluntary Code: Guidance for Sharing Data Between Organisations

Many organisations are coming up with their own internal policy and guidelines for data sharing. However, for data sharing between organisations to be straight forward, there needs to a common understanding of basic policy and practice. During her time as an OII Visiting Associate, Alison Holt developed a pragmatic solution in the form of a Voluntary […]

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Crowdsourcing ideas as an emerging form of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance

What are the linkages between multistakeholder governance and crowdsourcing? Both are new — trendy, if you will — approaches to governance premised on the potential of collective wisdom, bringing together diverse groups in policy-shaping processes. Their interlinkage has remained underexplored so far. Our article recently published in Policy and Internet sought to investigate this in the context of […]

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Uber and Airbnb make the rules now — but to whose benefit?

Ride-hailing app Uber is close to replacing government-licensed taxis in some cities, while Airbnb’s accommodation rental platform has become a serious competitor to government-regulated hotel markets. Many other apps and platforms are trying to do the same in other sectors of the economy. In my previous post, I argued that platforms can be viewed in […]

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Why are citizens migrating to Uber and Airbnb, and what should governments do about it?

Cars were smashed and tires burned in France last month in protests against the ride hailing app Uber. Less violent protests have also been staged against Airbnb, a platform for renting short-term accommodation. Despite the protests, neither platform shows any signs of faltering. Uber says it has a million users in France, and is available […]

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How big data is breathing new life into the smart cities concept

“Big data” is a growing area of interest for public policy makers: for example, it was highlighted in UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget speech as a major means of improving efficiency in public service delivery. While big data can apply to government at every level, the majority of innovation is currently being driven by […]

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How can big data be used to advance dementia research?

Dementia affects about 44 million individuals today, a number that is expected to triple by 2050. To date there is no cure or treatment. Ulrike Deetjen, Eric T. Meyer and Ralph Schroeder discuss the findings of an OECD-commissioned project to evaluate current best practices of data sharing in research on neurodegenerative diseases, for which they interviewed 37 experts from academia, government and other sectors. The final report was presented to the G7 health ministers at the First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in Geneva on 16-17 March 2015.

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