The Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin is taking part in the EU project KPLEX which explores bias in big data approaches to knowledge creation. The KPLEX project investigates ways in which a focus on big data elides important issues about the information environment we live in. Even people who know very little about technology seem to be in love with big data. And why not? Such approaches give the impression to the outside observer of being able to reach objective conclusions on a statistical basis spanning a massive sample.
However, there are many biases in the creation and interrogation of such massive data sets: biases that humanities researchers are uniquely attuned to. These include cultural specificities, linguistic complexity, the effect of historical bias, social and demographic inequalities, etc. Our research aims at exposing the ‘all-too-human’ factors that influence any data set, and the many narratives that must be suppressed to create the appearance of a common voice across many disparate sources.
The Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin (FUB) examines knowledge organization and epistemics of data in the sciences. On the basis of the cross-cutting topic “emotions” the team will analyze how data are being created in diverse scientific disciplines – from philosophy, the historical sciences and psychology to the neurosciences. By means of a series of interviews and a survey the data creation process, methodological issues and the organizational structure in diverse scientific disciplines will be examined. The results of the qualitative and quantitative analysis will be summarized in a report and made accessible to the public.
At the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University Berlin the team working in the KPLEX Project consists of: Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka, Dr. Elisabeth Huber and Dr. Jörg Lehmann.
Further information on the “Knowledge Complexity” Project (KPLEX) can be found online at https://kplex-project.com/.